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Team Assignment 5:
Each team is asked to employ the architectural models of the cloister and the monastery/convent as places for individual and collective work, solitude, and contemplation.
Team Members:
Jackie, Jonathan, Xing, Mike
Model photos:

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Individual Assignment 5:
Each of these drawing exercises (not gestural sketches) will be made on a single piece of drawing paper (not trace), at size 11×17 or larger.  Each shee is to be organized as a composition of parts.

Today we had a in-class exercise based on the top”Incremental Architecture”. We are asked to drawing step by step without knowing the order.

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1. Cappelle Medicee

Roof geometry and openings

The symmetrical and self-centered geometry of the space, the same pattern happened both on the floor and roof

2.Basilica of San Lorenzo

The Basilica di San Lorenzo (Basilica of St Lawrence) is one of the largest churches of Florence, Italy, situated at the centre of the city’s main market district, and the burial place of all the principal members of the Medici family from Cosimo il Vecchio to Cosimo III. It is one of several churches that claim to be the oldest in Florence; when it was consecrated in 393, it stood outside the city walls. For three hundred years it was the city’s cathedral before the official seat of the bishop was transferred to Santa Reparata. San Lorenzo was also the parish church of the Medici family. In 1419, Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici offered to finance a new church to replace the eleventh-century Romanesque rebuilding. Filippo Brunelleschi, the leading Renaissance architect of the first half of the fifteenth century, was commissioned to design it, but the building, with alterations, was not completed until after his death. The church is part of a larger monastic complex that contains other important architectural works: the Old Sacristy by Brunelleschi; the Laurentian Library by Michelangelo; the New Sacristy based on Michelangelo’s designs; and the Medici Chapels by Matteo Nigetti.

The facade has a unique tectonic language of the brick, it suggest heaviness and a regular rhythm.

The detail of the corner at the corridor towards the courtyard

Photograph of courtyard, the patterning of the plant pointing to the center of the space.

3.Laurentian Library

The Laurentian Library (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana) is a historical library in Florence, Italy, containing a repository of more than 11,000 manuscripts and 4,500 early printed books. Built in a cloister of the Medicean Basilica di San Lorenzo di Firenze under the patronage of the Medici pope, Clement VII, the Library was built to emphasize that the Medici family were no longer mere merchants but members of intelligent and ecclesiastical society. It contains the manuscripts and books belonging to the private library of the Medici family. The library is renowned for the architecture planned and built by Michelangelo and is an example of Mannerism.

The staircase leads up to the reading room and takes up half of the floor of the vestibule. The treads of the center flights are convex and vary in width, while the outer flights are straight. The three lowest steps of the central flight are wider and higher than the others, almost like concentric oval slabs. As the stairway descends, it divides into three flights.

The reading room is 46.20 m. long, 10.50 m. wide, and 8.4 m. high (152 by 35 by 28 feet). There are two blocks of seats separated by a center aisle with the backs of each serving as desks for the benches behind them. The desks are lit by the evenly spaced windows along the wall. The windows are framed by pilasters, forming a system of bays which articulate the layout of the ceiling and floor.

Because the reading room was built upon an existing story, Michelangelo had to reduce the weight of the reading-room walls. The system of frames and layers in the walls’ articulation reduced the volume and weight of the bays between the pilasters.

Beneath the current wooden floor of the library in the Reading Room is a series of 15 rectangular red and white terra cotta floor panels. These panels, measuring 8 foot-6-inches (2.6 m) on a side, when viewed in sequence demonstrate basic principles of geometry. It is believed that these tiles were arranged so as to be visible under the original furniture; but this furniture was later changed to increase the number of reading desks in the room.

Roof at the bookstore


The Duomo was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris.

The cathedral complex, located in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile. The three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site covering the historic centre of Florence and are a major attraction to tourists visiting the region of Tuscany. The basilica is one of Italy’s largest churches, and until development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed.



The most exciting part of the Duomo is the Dome, Here are on-line information: By the beginning of the fifteenth century, after a hundred years of construction, the structure was still missing its dome. The basic features of the dome had been designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296. His brick model, 4.6 metres (15 ft) high 9.2 metres (30 ft) long, was standing in a side aisle of the unfinished building, and had long ago become sacrosanct. It called for an octagonal dome higher and wider than any that had ever been built, with no external buttresses to keep it from spreading and falling under its own weight.

The commitment to reject traditional Gothic buttresses had been made when Neri di Fioravante’s model was chosen over a competing one by Giovanni di Lapo Ghini. That architectural choice, in 1367, was one of the first events of the Italian Renaissance, marking a break with the Medieval Gothic style and a return to the classic Mediterranean dome. Italian architects regarded Gothic flying buttresses as ugly makeshifts and since the use of buttresses was forbidden in Florence, in addition to being a style favored by central Italy’s traditional enemies to the north. Neri’s model depicted a massive inner dome, open at the top to admit light, like Rome’s Pantheon, but enclosed in a thinner outer shell, partly supported by the inner dome, to keep out the weather. It was to stand on an unbuttressed octagonal drum. Neri’s dome would need an internal defense against spreading (hoop stress), but none had yet been designed.

The building of such a masonry dome posed many technical problems. Brunelleschi looked to the great dome of the Pantheon in Rome for solutions. The dome of the Pantheon is a single shell of concrete, the formula for which had long since been forgotten. A wooden form had held the Pantheon dome aloft while its concrete set, but for the height and breadth of the dome designed by Neri, starting 52 metres (171 ft) above the floor and spanning 44 metres (144 ft), there was not enough timber in Tuscany to build the scaffolding and forms. Brunelleschi chose to follow such design and employed a double shell, made of sandstone and marble. Brunelleschi would have to build the dome out of bricks, due to its light weight compared to stone and easier to form, and with nothing under it during construction. To illustrate his proposed structural plan, he constructed a wooden and brick model with the help of Donatello and Nanni di Banco and still displayed in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. The model served as a guide for the craftsmen, but was intentionally incomplete, so as to ensure Brunelleschi’s control over the construction.

Brunelleschi’s solutions were ingenious. The spreading problem was solved by a set of four internal horizontal stone and iron chains, serving as barrel hoops, embedded within the inner dome: one each at the top and bottom, with the remaining two evenly spaced between them. A fifth chain, made of wood, was placed between the first and second of the stone chains. Since the dome was octagonal rather than round, a simple chain, squeezing the dome like a barrel hoop, would have put all its pressure on the eight corners of the dome. The chains needed to be rigid octagons, stiff enough to hold their shape, so as not to deform the dome as they held it together.

Each of Brunelleschi’s stone chains was built like an octagonal railroad track with parallel rails and cross ties, all made of sandstone beams 43 centimetres (17 in) in diameter and no more than 2.3 metres (7.5 ft) long. The rails were connected end-to-end with lead-glazed iron splices. The cross ties and rails were notched together and then covered with the bricks and mortar of the inner dome. The cross ties of the bottom chain can be seen protruding from the drum at the base of the dome. The others are hidden. Each stone chain was supposed to be reinforced with a standard iron chain made of interlocking links, but a magnetic survey conducted in the 1970s failed to detect any evidence of iron chains, which if they exist are deeply embedded in the thick masonry walls. He was also able to accomplish this by setting vertical “ribs” on the corners of the octagon curving towards the center point. The ribs had slits to take beams the supported platforms, thus allowing the work to progress upward without the need for scaffolding.

A circular masonry dome, such as that of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul can be built without supports, called centering, because each course of bricks is a horizontal arch that resists compression. In Florence, the octagonal inner dome was thick enough for an imaginary circle to be embedded in it at each level, a feature that would hold the dome up eventually, but could not hold the bricks in place while the mortar was still wet. Brunelleschi used a herringbone brick pattern to transfer the weight of the freshly laid bricks to the nearest vertical ribs of the non-circular dome.

The outer dome was not thick enough to contain embedded horizontal circles, being only 60 centimetres (2 ft) thick at the base and 30 centimetres (1 ft) thick at the top. To create such circles, Brunelleschi thickened the outer dome at the inside of its corners at nine different elevations, creating nine masonry rings, which can be observed today from the space between the two domes. To counteract hoop stress, the outer dome relies entirely on its attachment to the inner dome at its base; it has no embedded chains.

A modern understanding of physical laws and the mathematical tools for calculating stresses was centuries into the future. Brunelleschi, like all cathedral builders, had to rely on intuition and whatever he could learn from the large scale models he built. To lift 37,000 tons of material, including over 4 million bricks, he invented hoisting machines and lewissons for hoisting large stones. These specially designed machines and his structural innovations were Brunelleschi’s chief contribution to architecture. Although he was executing an aesthetic plan made half a century earlier, it is his name, rather than Neri’s, that is commonly associated with the dome.

Brunelleschi’s ability to crown the dome with a lantern was questioned and he had to undergo another competition. He was declared the winner over his competitors Lorenzo Ghiberti and Antonio Ciaccheri. His design was for an octagonal lantern with eight radiating buttresses and eight high arched windows (now on display in the Museum Opera del Duomo). Construction of the lantern was begun a few months before his death in 1446. Then, for 15 years, little progress was possible, due to alterations by several architects. The lantern was finally completed by Brunelleschi’s friend Michelozzo in 1461. The conical roof was crowned with a gilt copper ball and cross, containing holy relics, by Verrocchio in 1469. This brings the total height of the dome and lantern to 114.5 metres (375 ft). This copper ball was struck by lightning on 17 July 1600 and fell down. It was replaced by an even larger one two years later.

The commission for this bronze ball [atop the lantern] went to the sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio, in whose workshop there was at this time a young apprentice named Leonardo da Vinci. Fascinated by Filippo’s [Brunelleschi’s] machines, which Verrocchio used to hoist the ball, Leonardo made a series of sketches of them and, as a result, is often given credit for their invention.

Leonardo might have also participated in the design of the bronze ball, as stated in the G manuscript of Paris “Remember the way we soldered the ball of Santa Maria del Fiore”.

The decorations of the drum gallery by Baccio d’Agnolo were never finished after being disapproved by no one less than Michelangelo.

A huge statue of Brunelleschi now sits outside the Palazzo dei Canonici in the Piazza del Duomo, looking thoughtfully up towards his greatest achievement, the dome that would forever dominate the panorama of Florence. It is still the largest masonry dome in the world.

The building of the cathedral had started in 1296 with the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and was completed in 1469 with the placing of Verrochio’s copper ball atop the lantern. But the façade was still unfinished and would remain so until the nineteenth century.

The ribs of the Dome looking at the observation deck of Duomo

Fantastic view over Florence


The Florence Baptistry or Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistry of St. John) is a religious building in Florence (Tuscany), Italy, which has the status of a minor basilica.The octagonal Baptistry stands in both the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza di San Giovanni, across from the Duomo cathedral and the Giotto bell tower (Campanile di Giotto). It is one of the oldest buildings in the city, built between 1059 and 1128. The architecture is in Florentine Romanesque style. Florentine style has not been the spread of the Pisan Romanesque or Lombard, however, its influence was decisive for the subsequent development of architecture, as it formed the basis of which drew Francesco Talenti , Leon Battista Alberti , Filippo Brunelleschi and the other architects who created the ‘ Renaissance architecture . The Church of the Holy Apostles is a clear example, it announced for its spaciousness, as noticed by Giorgio Vasari , Renaissance themes. Therefore, in the case of the Florentine Romanesque, one can speak of “proto-renaissance”, but at the same time an extreme survival of the late antique architectural tradition. Just from the pursuit of an ideal “classic” placed out of time, he creates difficulty in dating the Baptistery, similar to what occurs for other italian medieval monuments of strong classical style, like the church of St. Alexander in Lucca or the Basilica of St. Salvatore in Spoleto with the nearby Temple of Clitumnus .

The Baptistry is renowned for its three sets of artistically important bronze doors with relief sculptures. The south doors were done by Andrea Pisano and the north and east doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti. The east pair of doors were dubbed by Michelangelo “the Gates of Paradise”.

The Italian poet Dante Alighieri and many other notable Renaissance figures, including members of the Medici family, were baptized in this baptistry.[2] In fact, until the end of the nineteenth century, all Catholic Florentines were baptized here.


The Baptistry has eight equal sides with a rectangular addition on the west side. The sides, originally in sandstone, are clad in geometrically patterned colored marble, white Carrara marble with green Prato marble inlay, reworked in Romanesque style between 1059 and 1128. The pilasters on each corner, originally in grey stone, were decorated with white and dark green marble in a zebra-like pattern by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1293. The style of this church would serve as prototype, influencing many architects, such as Leone Battista Alberti, in their design of Romanesque churches in Tuscany.

The exterior is also ornamented with a number of artistically significant statues by Andrea Sansovino (above the Gates of Paradise), Giovan Francesco Rustici, Vincenzo Danti (above the south doors) and others.The design work on the sides is arranged in groupings of three, starting with three distinct horizontal sections. The middle section features three blind arches on each side, each arch containing a window. These have alternate pointed and semicircular tympani. Below each window is a stylized arch design. In the upper fascia, there are also three small windows, each one in the center block of a three-panel design.

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Team Assignment 4:
Each team is to explore an abstract architectural topic for an assigned destination, we have Basilica di San Domenico.
Team Members:
 Kami, Jackie, Xing
As a team, we are trying to discuss the nature of the edges conditions and the factors that effect the people activities, on a micro and macro scale.
Model Photos:

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Individual Assignment 4:

Develop a planning strategy proposal for the development and evolution of the La Lizza Park site as a home for a new program of music and music-related facilities.

Model photos:

Proposed design idea




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Team Assignment 3:
Each team is to document the oldest of the three terzi divisions of the city, for us is the Porta San Marco.
Team Members:
 Anthony, Kami, Tom, Xing

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Individual Assignment 3:

Making a physical model of Campo

I am more focusing on making an accurate model in order to appreciate the color, the facade language and the topology of the Campo.

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1. Palazzo Strozzi


Overview of Palazzo Strozzi

Comments: Palazzo Strozzi is an example of civil architecture with its rusticated stone, inspired by the Palazzo Medici, but with more harmonious proportions.

Unlike the Medici Palace, which was sited on a corner lot, and thus has only two sides, this building, surrounded on all four sides by streets, is a free-standing structure. This introduced a problem new in Renaissance architecture, which, given the newly felt desire for internal symmetry of planning symmetry: how to integrate the cross-axis. The ground plan of Palazzo Strozzi is rigorously symmetrical on its two axes, with clearly differentiated scales of its principal rooms.

2. Piazza della Signoria

Comments: Piazza della Signoria is an L-shaped square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. It was named after the Palazzo della Signoria, also called Palazzo Vecchio. It is the focal point of the origin and of the history of the Florentine Republic and still maintains its reputation as the political hub of the city. It is the meeting place of Florentines as well as the numerous tourists, located near Ponte Vecchio and Piazza del Duomo and gateway to Uffizi Gallery.

The impressive 14th century Palazzo Vecchio is still preeminent with its crenellated tower. The square is also shared with the Loggia della Signoria, the Uffizi Gallery, the Palace of the Tribunale della Mercanzia (1359) (now the Bureau of Agriculture), and the Palazzo Uguccioni (1550, with a facade attributed to Raphael, who however died thirty years before its construction). Located in front of the Palazzo Vecchio is the Palace of the Assicurazioni Generali (1871, built in Renaissance style).

Plan Diagram

3.Palazzo Vecchio

The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence, Italy. This massive, Romanesque, crenellated fortress-palace is among the most impressive town halls of Tuscany. Overlooking the Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David statue as well the gallery of statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi, it is one of the most significant public places in Italy.Originally called the Palazzo della Signoria, after the Signoria of Florence, the ruling body of the Republic of Florence, it was also given several other names: Palazzo del Popolo, Palazzo dei Priori, and Palazzo Ducale, in accordance with the varying use of the palace during its long history. The building acquired its current name when the Medici duke’s residence was moved across the Arno to the Palazzo Pitti.

Entrance: Above the front entrance door, there is a notable ornamental marble frontispiece, dating from 1528. In the middle, flanked by two gilded lions, is the Monogram of Christ, surrounded by a glory, above the text (in Latin): “Rex Regum et Dominus Dominantium” (translation: “Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. This text dates from 1851 and does not replace an earlier text by Savonarola[4] as mentioned in guidebooks. Between 1529 and 1851 they were concealed behind a large shield with the grand-ducal coat of arms.

Michelangelo’s David also stood at the entrance from its completion in 1504 to 1873, when it was moved to the Accademia Gallery. A replica erected in 1910 now stands in its place, flanked by Baccio Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus.

Three Courtyard:

The first courtyard was designed in 1453 by Michelozzo. In the lunettes, high around the courtyard, are crests of the Church and City Guilds. In the center, the porphyry fountain is by Battista del Tadda. The Putto with Dolphin on top of the basin is a copy of the original by Andrea del Verrocchio (1476), now on display on the second floor of the palace. This small statue was originally placed in the garden of the villa of the Medici in Careggi. The water, flowing through the nose of the dolphin, is brought here by pipes from the Boboli Gardens.The second courtyard, also called “The Customs”, contains the massive pillars built in 1494 by Cronaca to sustain the great “Salone dei Cinquecento” on the second floor.The third courtyard was used mainly for offices of the city. Between the first and second courtyard the massive and monumental stairs by Vasari lead up to the “Salone dei Cinquecento”.

Sketch standing in first courtyard depicting the stairway condition with the skewed window

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Duomo di Siena

Architect: Collective

Location: Siena, Italy.

Date: 1215-1263

Building Type: Piazza

Architecture Styles: Medieval, Baroque

Architectural Time Period: 700s-1300s

Construction Type: Bearing Masonry

Context: Urban

Introduction(Information mainly based on Internet and Readings):

Duomo di Siena, dedicated from its earliest days as a Roman Catholic Marian church and now to Santa Maria Assunta (Most Holy Mary of Assumption), is a medieval church in Siena. The cathedral itself was originally designed and completed between 1215 and 1263 on the site of an earlier structure. It has the form of a Latin cross with a slightly projecting transept, a dome and a bell tower. The dome rises from a hexagonal base with supporting columns. The lantern atop the dome was added by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The nave is separated from the two aisles by semicircular arches. The exterior and interior are constructed of white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes, with addition of red marble on the façade. Black and white are the symbolic colors of Siena, etiologically linked to black and white horses of the legendary city’s founders, Senius and Aschius.

My own exploration:

Keywords: Plan & Entrance Study


Plan of the Campo with the entry studies. There are four entries, each one is illustrated with a perspective sketch to show the feeling and view when approving the space.