Analysis of English Language Preparatory School of METU

There is something that I want to share with you guys. The research paper (not that much formal) I have prepared after our trip to METU campus and exploratory on the library of TMMOB (UCTEA- Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects).

Here it is.

A brief story of the building and architect

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English preparatory school annexes of METU                Photo by İlayda GENÇ

Diyarbakır born(1963) architect Boran Ekinci who has graduated from METU Department of Architecture in 1987, is one of the leading names in his field, in Turkey. Even though he did not had a chance to practice and work enough as an apprentice he succeeded to get ahead. He started his career with a 2 weeks experience in Ekinciler Construction and Trade Company and next in Mimtaş.  Later on with the partnership of his schoolfellow Hakan Dalokay his career started to take its real shape. They founded “Dalokay-Ekinci Company of Architecture” in Istanbul.  After this ephemeral experience he established his own company “Boran Ekinci Architecture” in Ankara. Afterwards he moved the company to Istanbul and still pursues his works in this office.

In 2004, the project of METU Preparatory School Annexes was given to Boran Ekinci by METU Development Foundation.  It was a project designed to be an education building. The steel-concrete construction is one of the most significant example of its kinds in the matter of “wall architecture” and the method used for bringing steel and concrete together.

As a METU graduate it must be such a nice excitement and practice to rise up a building of his own design in the campus that he spent his years of university. Continue reading “Analysis of English Language Preparatory School of METU”

Ornament?!

Ornament? What is ornament? Ornament is “an accessory, article, or detail used to beautify the appearance of something to which it is added or of which it is a part” This is what dictionary says. But what I found as a sample sentence is more attractive: “a speech more of ornament than of ideas“. So, in an architectural manner, is ornament something which prohibits the main futures of structures? Let’s look for answers through the article Ornament and Crime (Adolf Loof, 1908). 

The text is full of examples intended for needlessness of ornaments. What he is against is the non-modern minds which are sticked to cultural (!) ornamentation. Seems like what leads to this is the fear behind the idea of modernism. To re-new himself, it not as easy as it seems for humankind. “Among ourselves there are unmodern people even in the cities, stragglers from the eighteenth century, who are horrified by a picture with purple shadows because they cannot yet see purple.”  There are more negative statements mentioned continuously. Loof finds out another point to think on. Can ornamentation have an effect on people’s life? He makes it possible! The crime is not only considering buildings, but the health of people: injuries, impacts on the national budget and thereby on cultural enlargement.  “Ornament is wasted labor power and hence wasted health. It has always been s.” If we consider the work on these unnecessary ornamentations there is no doubt that we will end up with the consumption of time for no artistic purposes, toil and money.

However there is point that I do not like on the text about the way he writes. I know that he is trying to do his best to defend his intention but some examples given are too exaggerated or irrelevant with the topic. “…The vegetable he enjoys is simply boiled in water and has a litter butter put on it. The other man likes it equally well only when honey and nuts have been added to it and someone has spent hours cooking it. Ornamented plates are very expensive, whereas the white crockery from which the modern man likes to eat is cheap. …” Does modern man who is against ornament really have to prefer a food without any spice?!  Or Is he really have to purchase all of his plates and staff in the color of white and without any pattern on it? Maybe I am the one who doesn’t understand the state however it sounds absurd. I just wanted to express that I didn’t find the example suitable.

Additionally, the art in architecture is not the ornamentation of repeating what is remained from old times with extravagance but the design on the layout. There could not be a better example to claim: “kaffir” the fruit (with waved outer shell) which has its own rhythm and hierarchy inherently. What kaffir has is not ornamentation since it is a requirement for its existence. So the art is what we have instead of ornamentation, the art which does not belong to a culture which does not contains any utilitarian aims, which is provided by the structure itself.

Space and Structure

The close relation between structure and surface cannot be underestimated in the world of architecture, even if there are examples of the buildings which give more prominence to one of them rather than the other. This legitimates the tree categories figured out by Simon Unwin; “the dominant structural order, the dominant spatial order and the harmonic relationship between the two”. Throughout the history there have been great samples of all three categories.

BeFunky CollageThe part that Unwin was mentioning to the Temple of Ammon at Karnak was really striking. In ancient times numerous columns had been used to obtain large spaces as in this temple. This kind of a structure is completely unsuitable if you are not using it as a gate or a way to arrive to a larger
area. That is why I cannot understand the logıc behind the telesterion at Eleusis. The same structural plan is used in this place but for a different goal; a place of performing! The columns situated in the structure becomes barriers to block the view of spectators. However the next plan(4th century BC) prepared for the same temple was insisting an arranged order of columns to make the
center arena visible from all the aspects.

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Another point which is expressed with nice pictures is the part that the writer talks about Victorian age houses. They were mostly erected in the aim of creating many cellular rooms by using a simple timber-frame structure. They can easily become extended just by addition. The illustration (taken from the book “Analyzing Architecture”) on the right may help you to understand this mentality better.

In the twentieth century some architects comes with the idea that geometrical shapes do not have to be the forms what shapes our life. Actually I liked this idea a lot after examining the buildings mentioned in the text(e.g. Casa Romanelli). This kind of a structure seems more associated with life and nature to me. Buildings with different geometries have a relatively high level of complexity, yet a harmony is stated in them with walls and columns.

Regulating Lines

In architectural design, shapes are often constructed by some graphic context which is in a very basic level done by some abstract organizational instruments, like axes, grids, and regulating (or construction) lines.  Almost all of Le Corbusier’s works was conducted by the use of regulating lines “les tracés régulateurs” as he mention in the book Towards an Architecture. Continue reading “Regulating Lines”

Mass & Surface

As a modern architect, Le Corbusier doesn’t surrender to the common thoughts of his age and in the articles “Mass” and “Surface” from the book Towards an Architecture again he doesn’t hesitate to defend plastic art with his strict sentences. Let’s have a look at both the articles “Mass” and “Surface”.

Continue reading “Mass & Surface”

Le Corbusier and His Pure Creation

Charles Edouard Jeanneret, namely Le Corbusier was one of the eximious and foresighted architects of his era. As well as being an architect, he was also an artist, designer, writer and urban planner.

What arouses curiosity at the first glance about this Swiss-French architect is the way he educated himself. It is well known by the people who are interested in architecture that Le Corbusier did not receive a formal architectural education. The seven-month journey or as he call it “the useful journey” which he went through several European countries, Balkans and Turkey was his initial step to shape his perception of architecture. After all this adventure he made his barnburner debut with the book “Vers une architecture (Towards an architecture)”. In this famous work he comes up with the idea of modern architecture and rebuilts the objectives of it. He underlines that the architects have been concerned about how a building looks without having the same regard for how a building works.  It is clearly stated that he concerns about unnecessary decoration and extravagance which masked architecture and distracted the designers from creating functional buildings. The functional or successful building of Le Corbusier’s was a building which serves to the needs and demands of people. He gave importance to the features of the structures more then ornamentation. After all, he achieved to make them look both eye catching and functional with his modern touches unlike the tradition addicted architects of his century.

What led this self-educated architect to think like this was mostly related with the changing life styles of new industrial age. In that times the population of big cities was increasing dramatically and architects had to built as fast and as much as they can to meet the needs of this ocean of humans. Le Corbusier was aware of this alteration and dedicated himself to spread the idea of purism.


References:

Architecture and Music in Common

This article is going to be handling the relations between different
branches of art: architecture and music. Referencing from the video of “Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concert”` & the book “Toward a New Architecture” by Le Corbusier.

Firstly, let’s give it a start with the book. In the book the writer generally focuses on what architecture should be like and its concepts via the Parthenon. He expresses his notions about the plastic art and architecture while examining the organization and the structure of this ancient Greek temple. What the author alleges is that architecture is not only the matter of building or erection but the matter of art and ingenuity. ”Architecture is a work of art” and in the concept of art what arouses your emotions is the harmony and the unity of the combinations of elements. In addition, clear formation and characterizing every element is very significant for every work of art because every piece has its special attitude.

Nature is another point that the author centers upon. Simplicity in the nature is what gives it its great strength and you do not need a key to comprehend the layout or the unity of the figures. Further, nature has something touches our feelings at the first sight and make us feel satisfied because something inside us is struck.  What gives rise to this is the profound congruity within them and nature is the greatest architect that creates a poetic emotion and inspiration lies within it.

Secondly, the video deals with the question “What does music mean?” and approaches it with a lively language since it’s a concert for children. If we move on to the topic I should confess that I couldn’t agree more with what Leonard Bernstein was saying. Music has nothing to do with other things. It does not belong to a story or a moment and it does not have to
necessarily have an emotion. Music is just what you hear and what you feel, yet it is not something composed for a purpose or waking up a certain emotion. Music is the consonance of easy to hear notes put together just to get a composition which is a pleasure to hearken.  “Musical reasons and no other reasons”

Featured imageThen, I guess both the reading text and the video have many viewpoints in common since both of their concept is art. Architecture expresses thoughts by shapes while music uses sound and notes and those shapes and notes are both creations of mind. The two of them uses small elements works as a whole and the unity and harmony between them is what matters not the reasons. Additionally, both two branches of art uses nature & contour as a source of inspiration because the rhythm of nature is what vibrates in us.

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.

Laurie Anderson

Photo references: en.wikipedia.org www.homeschoolfreebie.wholesomechildhood.com