This paper says sometimes form is a result of historic process
I published an article in stone world magazine in 1996, where i introduced a concept I called "inside out design." Looking at it 15 years later, I still believe it is a good article even though I have no reason to believe any one ever read it. Never the less 25 years and one half dozen articles later I still attempt to provoke minds, for better or worse.
I have read that capitols on stone columns imitate tree limbs on original wood columns. To me this makes sense, particularly since I have seen small tree trunks used this way to support wooden boards for use as platforms to pour concrete roofs in colonial Mexico.
Historians would have you believe that if you don’t know the difference between Corinthian, Doric, or Ionic capitols, your education is incomplete. But to me I never cared, it seemed pointless, but I do like the tree branch concept, which probably casts a shadow on my education.
I believe, based on personal observation gleaned from 50 years in the stone business, that the technology within industry provides designers basic building blocks to work with. The possibilities and limitations of the medium you are working in change through time. These changes provide design professionals an ever-changing variety of possibilities. This all seems logical and apparent to most of us.
However, what is interesting are those limitations of past technologies, that become permanent design staples all around us. Learning to recognize these technological glitches to me provides a more meaningful appreciation of the design environment. It goes back to the tree limb thing, I think. For example, walking through an historic neighborhood with a craftsman who has knowledge of wood construction, or walking the streets of a city with a stone worker interested in history, is much more fun than taking a tour and having someone tell you the architectural style and the name of the architect who designed it. I think this suggests that I am not only interested in the designers name but maybe my interest is more centered on the technology and people working on the project.
I am sure that every construction medium could chime in here -- it would be interesting to hear other thoughts. My experience is with stone which has traditionally been the provider of urban forms or designer building blocks.
The quirk miter. A staple of urban stone design
Problem: stone is fragile - miters don’t work - they chip
|United States Customs House, downtown Portland|
|Lincoln Hall, Portland State University|
Because gang sawing stone slabs has always been a difficult and imprecise job, granite veneer slabs have often employed a structure called the head in architectural projects, that is corners, are dealt with by specifying a given fixed dimension at butt joints.
|CNC Stone Router|