NOTE: This is an example assignment for prospective students. Since assignments vary from year to year, please visit the course link at elms.umd.edu or contact your TA for the most current version.
To further your comprehension of some basic strategies and devices for ordering space.
To explore the concept of space enclosure at the urban scale.
In order to execute this assignment satisfactorily, you will have to be familiar with the material covered in the Form Section of the ARCH 170 Web Site. Step-by-step help for this assignment is available on the Site.
- From the list below choose one space which you will visit and experience prior to beginning the assignment.
Washington DC: (all accessible by Metro)
- World War II Memorial Area (on Mall at 17th Street)
- National Gallery Plaza (between East and West bldgs.)
- National Portrait Gallery Place (2 blocks between 7th and 9th Streets,
between Gallery and Spy Museum/Old Tariff Commission Building)
- Judiciary Square
- Mt. Vernon Square (2 blocks)
- Spend some time in the space (one or two hours should be sufficient). During this time, pay attention to the overall parti and strategy which you perceive were used in ordering the space. Using your sketchbook and a 2B pencil, make some simple, free-hand, diagrammatic drawings of the buildings, vegetation, street furniture, stairs, paving, and any other environmental elements that contribute to the overall composition. These drawings should include a plan of the space roughly in scale (use the technique of "pacing" to measure major widths and lengths), and elevations of each space "side" (building facades, trees, or other space-delimiting construction) drawn at the same approximate scale as the plan (do not attempt to walk on building facades; estimate heights by eye!).
- In your sketchbook, sketch out diagrammatically, and make verbal notes of the overall parti (linear? U-shaped? clustered? centralized? radial? etc.), and any ordering principles that you can discern (axis? datum? hierarchy? repetition? symmetry? rhythm? grid? etc.).
- Prepare two 8 1/2" x 11" sheets, drawn in pencil (use 2B grade) on white, blank paper, with the following information across the bottom of each sheet, in a single line of words occupying the full width of the sheet except for a 1" margin on both left and right:
PROJECT 3 - ARCH 170 SEMESTER - SECTION # - YOUR NAME
Lettering should be 3/16" high, done carefully and as elegantly as you can. Use print, all upper case letters. White spaces of equal width should separate the information horizontally. (Hint: Try a few different mock-ups first on a different piece of paper, choose the best one and transfer the location of lettering and spaces onto the three sheets. This will "order" your lettering).
- At an appropriate scale for the size of your paper, draw the plan of the space on the first sheet, and the facades (elevations) of two sides of the space on the second sheet, as carefully as possible but still free-hand. Photocopy these sheets so that you have a copy for each of the items in point 3. below.
- On the photocopy of the plan and elevations, do the following, wherever applicable:
Using a dash-dot line, indicate the major axis (or axes) of the composition.
Indicate repetition by identifying the elements that repeat with a letter. If rhythm is present, indicate this, too, (e. g., "a-b-a-b-a-b-a" see ARCH 170 Web Site for an example).
Call attention to the hierarchy of elements by outlining the dominant element(s) with a double line or a really thick, dark line.
Datum lines, if any, should also be shown. Use a really thick line for this purpose.
With squares and diagonal lines, indicate the proportions of the major elements of the space and of the building facades. (How many "squares" wide or long is the space, the facades? Are there similar proportional ratios among the various elements of each facade? Any other proportional relationships? Again, see examples on the ARCH 170 Web Site).
- On a third sheet of paper, describe in your own carefully chosen words the ordering strategy for this space, beginning with the overall parti and scale, and then focusing on the use of axes, repetition, hierarchy, etc.. Briefly describe how these affect your perception of the space. (Do the parti, scale and ordering devices make the space interesting or boring? Exciting or calm? Urban or suburban? Warm or cold? Human or oppressive? Attractive or repulsive?). This sheet is to be typed double spaced.