>In Class on Friday we went on an exploration of circles and axes on campus. We looked at how the principles of commodity, firmness, and delight were involved, and how these concepts re-enforce circles and their three dimensional forms as sacred.
Commodity = Function
Firmness = Structure + Stability
Delight = Aesthetics + Form and Surface
I took a secondary “tour” by myself to reevaluate what we had learned. Based on the ideas, I chose to discuss the music building entrance as the space where these three concepts are epitomized. The school of music sits at one end of College Avenue, one of the main Axes through campus. This shows the importance of the school of music to the university.
From the outside Firmness appears very evident. The massive column like entrance appears very rooted to it’s physical environment. The base is made of concrete blocks. Pilasters rise from this solid base and are infilled with brick and capped off with a decorative concrete “cap”. All of these materials are very long lived, stable, and solid (like a rock). This contributes to the sense of stability in the building. The glass structure adjacent to the circular entrance reinforces the stability concept through the use of horizontal bands that reinforce the stacking theory as well as columns that strengthen the groves theory.
The base of the column like entrance even goes out into the landscape.
These bands that emulate out from the entrance column reinforce that the building is rooted into its environment, almost like it grew directly up out of the ground.
These bands are continued in the flooring inside the building which adds to the sense of Delight.
When viewed from above the bands in the floor are even more prominent. Patrick eluded to the bands in the flooring as being ripples in water. I really enjoy how the two columns in the picture above have the white banding around them as well. It’s almost like they have just been dropped into a pool of water and are emitting their own band of concentric circles. This concept of water ripples is reinforced directly outside the entrance with a round pond.
This round pond even has concentric rings around it as well, not only with the stone surround but also with the circular walls that frame the courtyard.
Back inside, lets look at the column entrance. When entering the building from outside you step under the massive column, compressing you down, spatially. Then you open the doors and step into this huge expanse of space. This reminds me a great deal of how Frank Lloyd Wright treated the entrance to many of the houses he designed.
Once you enter the building you are greeted with this view. An enormous amount of Light is present which registers at the top of my delight scale. The use of groves and stacks is very evident here. Even down to the legs of the chairs in the space. This is the space where my eyes dart around constantly. There is something grabbing my attention everywhere, which is very delightful.
This is the wall adjacent to the glass wall, which acts as a secondary facade. We have stacking on the base, with grove like columns rising from the base, just like the main entrance column outside. This tells us this is where we need to go next. In this case it’s the performance hall for the school of music.
The commodity of this space is for it to act as an entrance for the building. It provides shelter, comfort, protection, and a sense of belonging as well. Here, a gathering space is created for the auditorium and the main axis through the building begins as well. Large crowds gather here and move through here on a continual basis and the space functions extremely well in this regard.
One thing that I find extremely interesting is that the pipe organ and organ recital hall are enclosed in the entrance column. Circles mark spaces that are sacred to us. It took the university over 30 years to raise the funds to purchase the organ. I think that it is fitting that something that took that long to obtain and which is regarded in such a high status resides in such a space. Another interesting idea that relates to the commodity is the lack of noise in the building. While I was taking pictures the organ was being played and you could barely hear it when you were right next to the doors into the chamber.
Overall; The entrance to the music building gives me a great sense of delight. The materials and design principles utilized in the design and construction of the building give it great firmness and a commodious relationship with it’s function.