April 18, 2005

Architecture and the human body: how do they relate?

I found my conversation with Dr. Jerz to be very interesting the one day in the Publications Office. I was rambling out ideas all over the place of what I was thinking about doing my presentation on for Tuesday, April 12. While we were talking, we all of a sudden brought up architecture and how it can tie into the human body. The reason why this struck me as the most interesting topic we have discussed, was because I could relate the Olympics to this idea as well.

Now that I think about what I presented in class, I feel that it was a little jumbled. I tried as hard as I could to keep everything in order, but the words would not seem to form in the way I wanted them too. Because of this, I am going to write about what my presentation was about in class and how I am going to expand this idea for my final research paper in Media Aesthetics.

Most of my information for my presentation came from Wikipedia. Due to this being an informal presentation, I thought that it would be okay to gather my background information from this site. At first, I looked up Olympic Games. I found the background on how the first games started in Olympia around 776 BC, and this played a very important role when it came to religion. These games were to honor their gods, especially Zeus.

Honoring their gods was very important and the Greeks (and all that showed to participate in the games) showed it by having a statue of Zeus in Olympia. The statue of Zeus was half nude and the other people in a picture of this statue were nude as well (or at least most of them were). This just proves how ideal the human body was and how it was used to show respect for their gods.

I also learned from Wikipedia that the participants in these games were naked, which explains why the people in the statue of Zeus were nude. In the stadiums (a beautiful form of architecture I might add), these performers not only gathered for religious reasons, but it was also "a celebration of the achievements of the human body."

This is also where the term gymnasium came in. Now a days, people feel that a gymnasium is just a building where sporting events take place. As of now it does mean "a place of exercise," but the first true meaning was a "place to be naked." The stadiums played a big part when it came to the celebration of the human body.

Sculpture is a big deal when it comes to architecture as well. When I went to visit the Carnegie Museum of Art, there were pieces of buildings that had bodies etched into them. It made me think: the bodies are not made up by the wall, but the wall is made up by the bodies. Without those bodies there, the wall would be plain and bare. There would be no substance, to say the least. I also saw the sculptures of the performers of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece who were nude. The ideal form of the body is definitely expressed through sculpture, and sculpture is definitely expressed through architecture.

The Colosseum in Italy is one example of how architecture is respecting the ideal human body. This amphitheatre used to be used for gladiators to combat one another. This amphitheatre also had an impact on the way other stadiums are built to this day.

After gaining plenty of information on this topic, I decided to stop focusing on the crowds related to architecture and more on the individual. For example, how architecture relates to the human body, and what kind of architectural features are incorporated by the human body (columns, arches, etc.). Wikipedia states, "Architecture is also the art of designing the human built environment," but I am going to find out how the body influenced forms of architecture.

Posted by Anne Stadler at April 18, 2005 05:53 PM | TrackBack

Anne, are you going to give us your assigned reading material through e-mail or in class on Thursday?

Posted by: Amanda at April 23, 2005 11:05 PM

Never mind...isn't your reading Chapter 21 of the green text?

Posted by: Amanda at April 24, 2005 05:04 PM

Anne, thanks for your ongoing solid contributions to the class discussions. I really enjoy seeing you make connections between what we've learned in class and what you've found out on your own. It's good that you're continuing to narrow your topic, and I've enjoyed watching your paper develop.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at April 29, 2005 04:07 PM

i am a final year architecture student. my written thesis /dissertation is on a similar topic as yours. How human body can have an effect on architecture. I would be grateful if you could give me some guidelines to get started on this topic and any research material you have come across. Thanks

Posted by: mariam at February 2, 2006 11:54 AM
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