ARCHHTC Assignment 2: Critical Writing
Part 1: Critical Reading
The articles ‘Piece by piece’ By Rob Gregory and ‘Under one Roof’ by Mimi Zeiger both talk about California Academy of Sciences by Renzo Piano. Althrough they start off with the same idea that Piano did; “the idea was to cut a piece of the park push it up 35 feet—to the height of the old buildings—and then put whatever was needed underneath.” In Piece by Piece it focused on the childlike playfulness of the architecture and focused on family influences on the Architect. Whether as in ‘Under one Roof’ a more cooperative and teamwork angle was used. In ‘Piece by Piece’ Rob Gregory looks at the Renzo Piano’s architecture history. Gregory looked at how in another piece written bout Piano, that his designs can be read as components that would combine to something significant. He sees that the Academy is read in the same way, as a composition of different components that is harmonised together beautifully. Gregory ties this to the challenge of appealing to a wide range of audiences in both the 10 year old child and scientists who work in the lab. Another aspect which was focused was on was the respect to the past, as the plan was keeping with the conservation of American institutions and classical roots by keeping the orthogonal footprint horizontal layout in memory of the previous building, before it was destroyed by the earthquake. However he comments that the section however is freer and incorporates the spheres of the planetarium and rainforest biosphere which creates a roof landscape which is the core of Renzo Piano’s idea. He concludes a positive critique by saying the architecture could be read on different levels as a “restoration piece, sophisticated engineering and moments of theatrical delight” all of which harmonises together through nature. In ‘Under one roof: Renzo Piano's concept for the new California Academy of Sciences’ Mimi Zeiger focuses on the Renzo Piano’s initial concept “to lift up a section of the ground and tuck the building beneath it.” Then Zeiger goes into detail about the different complex systems beneath the one roof. Zeiger also comments on the sustainable design systems that’s make it one of the biggest public buildings to gain a Leed platinum rating. The article also remarks on the historical background of the Academy. Zeiger identified the conceptualisation of the roof design to be from a team meeting break on the rooftop. During which they identified the problem of the dark space and wanted to light it up. In ‘Under one roof’ the restoration of past building elements were brought up for example the African hall was saved and new mirroring concrete walls were added in the south fascade. Zeiger highlighted the features of the different exhibits and spheres. He credited the magnificent rainforest of the world aquarium tunnel that went under it to teamwork. Zeiger concludes with a comment that compared the work of the watery depths, which he credited to the team and compared it with “Piano’s rooftop perch”. As mentioned in the introduction the both the ‘Under one roof’ and ‘Piece by Piece’ acknowledged Renzo’s key design scheme in “the idea was to cut a piece of the park push it up 35 feet—to the height of the old buildings—and then put whatever was needed underneath.” They also both look at the complex components/systems that make up the design. Both of the articles talked about the collaberative use of the building, both as a museum and a lab which meant it had to appeal to wide range of audiences including both 10 year olds and academy scientists. The differences between the articles is in the angle that they took, and the way they credited the designs to. Gregory took a more focus on family and how that influenced and shaped the images in his design. Whether as Zeiger took a more cooperate tone and focus on teamwork, that worked behind the scene to make this building work. We can see this in the images and evidence that...
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