Questions of Perception: Phenomonology of Archicture

1) Select a Lighting Design that Inspires me the most:
The Lighting design that inspires me the most is the Yas Marina Hotel Lighting by Rogier Van Der Heide in Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates. This project was completed in 2007 and was done in collaboration with Asymptote Architects and Arup Engineers.

2) Describe the effect of lighting design elements in the selected project.

a. How does the architect desigh the building and lighting?
In this case, The architectural firm, Asymptote, did not design the lighting, but rather the building structure which houses the doubly-curved gridshell that the progressive engineering firm, Arups, brought into existance. It is this grid-shell that makes possible the lasting impact of this lighting as ‘this Grid-Shell component is a key aspect of the overall architectural design and significance of the project by producing an atmospheric-like veil visible from miles away.’ Rogier Van Der Heide employed an LED lihgting system incorporating video feeds that are transmitted by Rogier 5,389 diamond-shaped color changing LED panes.

b. Does he use direct or indirect lighting?
The fact that the gridshell is made of 217 of curvilinear glass and steel makes direct light the main lighting source; however, due to the pivoting nature of the LED’s placement on the complex doubly-curved gridshell indirect lighting will always be a by-product.
c. Does he natural or electric lighting?
Completely electric in this project.

d. Does he use the changes in brightness, in object color, or in color temperature (of light source)?
The pixelated lighting design creates a dynamic appearance at night where colours seamlessly flow across the doubly-curved surface. As stated by the project description:
“The hotel embodies various key influences and inspirations ranging from the aesthetics and forms associated with speed, movement and spectacle to the artistry and geometries forming the basis of ancient Islamic art and craft traditions, a perfect union and harmonious interplay between elegance and spectacle. The search here was inspired by what one could call the ‘art’ and poetics of motor racing, specifically Formula 1, coupled with the making of a place that celebrates Abu Dhabi as a cultural and technological tour de force.”

3. Describe the purpose of this lighting effect.
– The purpose of this is simple. As with everything in Dubai it is to push the envelope, inspire awe, and spend lots of money.

How are hackers and painters different from each other based on the article?
Paul Graham has written his article ‘Hackers and Painters’ to extend forth his idea that hacking and painting, contrary to predisposed notions, follow similar rules of creation. Fundimentally though, the two are different on several fronts. For instance, hacking is commonly viewed as a ‘computer science’ and therefore is considered ‘cold, precise, and methodological’ and definitely not one of the liberal arts. Furthermore, hackers are not required to understand the theory of computation which is invaluable to writing beautiful programs. In short, hackers are not considered makers like painters and other members of the liberal art world.
How are they similar based on the article?
Despite these preconceived notions the world apparently has about hacking, Graham expresses their plethora of similarities throughout this article starting with the idea that both hackers and painters should be considered as, ‘makers’. ‘Along with composers, architects, and writers, what hackers and painters are trying to do is make good things.’ Unfortunately though, he says that the school of software engineering gives the ‘making’ side of creating software a bad reputation due to the fact that they are all under the same umbrella. ‘Sometimes what the hackers do is called ‘software engineering, ‘but this term is just misleading. ‘Good software designers are no more engineers than architects are.’ As stated before, hacking shares much in common with painting and can learn much from the discipline. For instance, painting can teach hackers how to hack because you learn painting from doing rather than listening to lectures on hacking. Secondly, painters leave a trail of work behind and start over from scratch, classically the hacking discipline does not work in this manner, but rather tries to ‘incorporate all later ideas as revisions’. Finally, ‘great sofware requires a fanatical devotion to beauty’. This remark is the result of his fascination with the detail and structure of Leonardo da Vinci in his painting, ‘Ginevra de’ Benci where his unseen details in the juniper bush are awe-inspiring. Similarly, hackers should have the same beauty and structure in the syntax of their code as well as in its function.

Are you a hacker of a painter?
(Before I answer this, I must say that I am using music as my experience rather than painting because I believe they are very similar art forms).
This is a difficult question for me because contrary to this article, I believe that in order to be a gifted hacker, no matter how much inclination a hacker has, he/she must be naturally gifted in mathematics foundationally. I do not necessarily believe this is the same for painters/musicians (who I will describe through my experience with musical artists). In my opinion, which I constructred from my travels as a musician, I have come into contact with two types of artists which consist of the the unstable dramatic type of artist who is consistently terrible at mathematics (these types normally drop out of college), and the more meticulous artists who is both creative and mathematically inclined simulatneously (these types normally can read music, play piano, and a number of other instruments). In short, I separate different types of musicians by whether they can read music or not. Usually, those good at mathematics As for myself, I have always landed right in the middle. I can read music, but I cannot sight read. I am good at mathematics, but not amazing. I have a tough time thingking ahead during long improvisations over complicated chord changes, but still had a career as a musician. As for the coding, I never have taken a calculus class, but became highly interested in grasshopper, due to the fact that it was a doorway into parametric design which was accessible to people with no coding background. As a result, I was fascinated and threw myself into a long self-learning discipline. I still have much to learn and have also learned much about coding in general which I have applied to my grasshopper studies. I think it is apparent whether I am a hacker or a painter…. I lie right in the middle.