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Proceedings of the Ninth International Space Syntax Symposium Edited by Y O Kim, H T Park and K W Seo, Seoul: Sejong University, 2013 DOUGLAS HOUSE: The formation of a language 002 Saleem M. Dahabreh University of Jordan e-mail:[email protected] Abstract Richard Meier, over a five decade career, has been associated with a recognizable design language that consistently evolved across a wide range of building types. This language, with a clear set of formal characteristics and design themes, includes among others: geometrical order exemplified in the use of modules and proportions; and visual layering that organizes space in his buildings through the arrangement of successive planes across the visual field. Taking the Douglas house as a case study, the aim of the paper is not only to clarify the design themes and motifs of Meier’s language, but also to show how these themes and motifs are employed in a particular building. This will be pursued with a particular emphasis upon the geometrical ordering of building plans and elevations, and the modular and proportional systems entailed in this ordering. This choice of emphasis is not coincidental: while other aspects of Meier’s language may be equally important from the point of view of the perceptual qualities or the aesthetic judgment of his buildings, geometrical ordering most closely regulates and interacts with the overall arrangement of formal elements of the building. The paper concludes thatthe final form of the house depends on the interaction between a design program and a formal language but is not determined solely by any. Abstract spatial themes such as reversal and twin phenomena also materialize in the physical form of the building through the artful manipulation of design elements. Keywords : Design logic, formal Language, Morphology, Ideal Geometry Theme: Architectural Design and Practices
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Proceedings of the Ninth International Space Syntax Symposium, Seoul, 2013 S M Dahabreh: Douglas house 002: 2 Introduction In the late 1960s, the Museum of Modern Art in New York brought together the work of Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, John Hejduk, and Richard Meier, a group that came to be known as “The New York Five” in the subsequent book Five Architects published in 1975 by Colin Rowe. Their work, with an explicit reference and allegiance to the classics of Modernism in the 1920s and 1930s, especially that of Le Corbusier's villas, made the exhibition pivotal for the evolution of architectural theory and history because it produced a critical benchmark against which other architecture theories of postmodernism, deconstructivism, neo-modernism and others have referred, critiqued or subverted (Tafuri, 1976). Among the five, Meier was closer to the modernist aesthetic of the Corbusian form, and even the later buildings, Meier produced since then have all remained truest to this aesthetic (Din, et al, 2012). This aesthetic is manifested in the use of the ‘five points’ of Le Corbusier especially the separation of skin and structure, and the
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