Monthly Archives: September 2017

Architects And Architecture – A Brief History

Architects And Architecture – A Brief History
Architects And Architecture – A Brief History

One doesn’t usually think of architecture as being an art form, but it is.  Many architectural experiments were proposed by well-known engineers and architects.  Frank Lloyd Wright, an American architect drew up plans for a building one mile high!  R. Buckminster Fuller, an American engineer proposed the possibility of making a giant dome, enough to cover an entire city!  He was thinking that by doing this, the climate could be well controlled and make living easier in frozen or desert places.  

In order to create successful architecture, the designer or architect has to be mindful and able to meet certain requirements in their resume.  The building that he or she is designing must be strong, of sound construction and able to suit the function for which it is being built.  The beauty of the size and shape of the structure and the balance of the different parts comes from the architect’s artistic and technical insights and gifts.  

Construction is essentially a science.  Architects nowadays know the various right ways to build a structure.  From past experiments long ago, today’s architects understand what materials to use, what weight they will bear and which ones are strong or weak.  They also have learned which materials will resist the sun and rains harm and how to fasten these materials together properly.  

One of the earliest architectural examples is the Egyptian tombs.  Since the pharaohs, (the kings) were regarded as gods; their final resting places had to last forever.  These tombs are called pyramids and some are still standing after 5,000 years!  About 2,700 BC the great tomb of King Zoser was built by the architect Imhotep.  It was as high as a 20 storey building and built using giant steps.  This is the earliest record today that we have of an architect and his client!  

The Mesopotamians, who lived between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, built towns and temples made of mud bricks with reeds since they had no trees to construct their buildings.  These people covered their structures with glazed tiles. These glazes were melted at a high heat and then fused with bricks for a hard, shiny surface. Their houses were sometimes two stories high and the second story would open onto a balcony.  Sometimes they even whitewashed the outsides of their houses.  

The Greeks contributed to architecture by giving us the orders.  These are the styles for a column and its parts (shaft, capital and base) and also the entablature (architrave, frieze and cornice), which are the supports.  These Greek orders, called Doric, Ionic and Corinthian were later added to by the Romans and others.  These orders are still used in architecture to this day!   

After World War II, architecture started to move away from its boxlike severity of the era between the first and second World Wars.  Le Corbusier used reinforced concrete forms in the 1940s and 1950s.  One of his achievements was the Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp, France.  Its roof was curved and made of reinforced concrete held together by concrete struts.        

The recent trends that architects are using now are to build buildings that are energy and fuel efficient and economical.  Architects also are incorporating designs using solar energy and better insulating materials.  One can only dream of what kind of home we will be buying in the future!

Decorating the garden with a seasonal theme

Decorating the garden with a seasonal theme
Decorating the garden with a seasonal theme

If you have a garden, then you already have a canvas on which to enhance your home’s attractiveness. A garden has many possibilities available when you think about decoration. First of all, undertaking the planting of seasonal flowers, with a little effort, can work magic in the garden. If you have specific trees that bear fruit or flower during specific seasons, these can also be the highlight of your garden during the particular season. However, most folks don’t have the luxury of fruit bearing or flowering foliage in their gardens so a little creative decoration is what should be done.
Silk Garden Floral with Planter
The main space within a garden area is usually the lawn and other areas of grass. Grass is like blank slate and by itself looks beautiful. However the look of the grass may be enhanced with certain objects that reflect the season. In summer for instance, you could put out a bird bath on a pedestal. This will help by encouraging the birds in (which in themselves are seasonal attractions.
Daisy Print Garden Set by Wild & Wolf
Trees and bushes too can be decorated without making them look ugly. There are many cultures across the globe that attach colored string (or even bunches of colored string) to the branches of trees, so that these waft about in the breeze. If that’s not your style, you could place an outdoor lamp at the base of a large plant so that its leaves are highlighted from below at night when the lamp is switched on. Garden lighting in fact is fast becoming a decorative niche. Weaving lights through a hedge creates an exciting effect when the lights are switched on.
Playing with water too is fast gaining momentum as a popular mode of garden decor. During the winter, water frozen in an outdoor mould may be hand carved and left as a garden attraction for the entire winter period. The carving could be a modern abstract creation or represent an object or life-form. A summer water decoration would be a still pool or a large outdoor fish tank (if you live in a cold area, an outdoor fish tank may not be practical). An autumn and spring fascination may be setting up a decorative water fall that launches from the roof to a collection pond at ground level. Direction of water flow is maintained by stretching out string from the higher level to the lower.
Figurines have long been used in garden decoration and these may be rotated according to the season. Going with themes from folklore is popular and you could get really creative by delving into forgotten or unique figurines from a variety of global cultures. Garden gnomes especially may be dressed up according to the season and make for a unique conversational item.