Ornament Theory and Design

Project Description

The phenomenal generator of a system of ornament should be recognizably derived from the geometrical components of a building at large. In order for the system of ornament to pay homage to that which it is auxiliary to, it must take precedence from the building itself; this yields a direct relationship between the components of a building and allows for the metamorphosis of form and construction. For this study, I am taking the Saarinen Chapel at MIT and applying ornament to its exterior by using the building's formal qualities as the initial generator. Given the Chapel’s clear formal strategy, I am analyzing its geometric components and relationships in order to design and embed ornament in the building and awaken the subdued structural components.

This project dissects a building’s geometries both two-dimensionally in plan and elevation and three-dimensionally as a massing in order to use fragments of the building’s formal qualities as the initial and phenomenal generator of the ornament. The geometries from the overall building overlap, link and reconfigure and the new ornament awakens in response to a building’s construction. This allows for the new collaboration of form as an initial generator to come into dialogue with the structure of the building.