Rapson Hall Analysis

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Rapson Hall: Sampling and Blending the Past
In the first century BC the architect Vitruvius wrote that architecture is made up of three separate elements: Utilitas, Firmitas, and Venustas.5 In ABC of Architecture, James O’Gorman focuses on Utilitas, or the functional aspects of a building, to analyze types of architecture. He does this through examining plan, beginning with a belief that plan is “the developed diagram of function”4 and that the way the building is to be used is created as the plan is laid out. Because of this, analyzing the arrangement of its plan should allow a person to understand the way it was designed. A central generalization O’Gorman makes is that plans are either drawn in an additive way or in a divisive way. He defines
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To decide whether or not the whole of Rapson Hall fits into O’Gorman’s generalizations for plan, and to determine if its organization successfully integrates both halves into one cohesive structure, Rapson Hall will first be analyzed as two separate …show more content…
The border and the constructions inside it are not symmetrical; the four arms of the cruciform are skewed and stretched. This indicates that the outline of the addition is responding to inner and outer forces. For example, the northernmost spar is widened and its end bows outwards to form the large lecture hall and library within. However, this does not simply mean that this section of the building fits O’Gorman’s generalizations for additive buildings. The other three arms show the divisive method where office spaces are divided. Furthermore, in ABC of Architecture, O’Gorman uses the additive plan of the Richards Medical Research Laboratories as an example of additive architecture.4 In this plan each of the rooms is placed sequentially and the outer borders of the building are drawn around them. Viewing a plan view of the Richards Labs and Rapson hall side by side it is clear that Rapson does not follow this same model of

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