The architectural structure I built was inspired by the book, The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. The book was about a boy names Holden Caulfield, and his journey in the real world after being expelled from school. The reader learns about Holden’s unwillingness go from childhood to adulthood and Holden‘s mental and emotional problems. After reading the novel, my partner and I had to create a structure using elements from the book. One element we decided to implement was the characterization of Holden Caulfield, the main character. He is described as emotionally unstable throughout the entire novel. In the book, when Holden has a date with Sally, he is initially in love with her and also proposes that they leave together and live together in a cabin in Massachusetts. When Sally says no, he begins yelling at her and getting frustrated. “ ‘Stop screaming at me, please,’ she said. Which was crap, because I wasn’t even screaming at her.” (Salinger 132) Holden gets upset easily and his constant breakouts of emotions at time in the novel reveal his emotional instability.
Another element we used in our structure was the point of view of the reader and other characters in the book. In the novel, characters and readers viewing Holden’s character from the exterior would believe that he was a normal teenager and not the emotional and isolated person he really is. It was shown in his conversation with Sally, when he proposes all these random ideas for their lives that were out of the ordinary. It shows his disconnection and isolation from normal society when one gets to know him and analyze him, but from just glancing at Holden, one may assume he is an average teenager. This provided a different view of the story from Holden’s own so the reader would only see the exterior of Holden’s character.
We then implemented our elements from the novel into our design. We decided to use straight and symmetrical shapes as the exterior of our structure. This idea came from our use of the point of view of outside characters looking at Holden. Like Holden, our structure would look plain and normal from the outside, using regular hexagonal shapes and rectangles to create a hexagonal prism. For the interior of our structure, we wanted to show instability and have the reader feel unstable as they walk into the building. We used spacial relationships to have different and asymmetrical shapes coming down and out from the walls of the structure. This creates a feeling of instability to the reader because when they first view the structure from afar, they have a sense of it being a normal building, but as they enter this massive structure, they see different shapes pointing in all different directions without any symmetry or repetition. This design would give the reader a feeling of instability.
The process of creating our structure was simple. First, we chose a partner that had similar ideas for the architectural structure. Then, we compromised our ideas and enhanced them through a video chat with Professor Pericoli. We made rough draft models first, and then we proceeded on to our final models. A difficult part in our final model was getting the exact measurements and angles correct. We had to account for the spaces on the side of our board when we glued it. Our model was not 100% precise, but we made it work. After we finished our structure, we had to create models of people to show the scale of our building.
This project was a worthwhile experience. I had a lot of fun building and designing the structures. This made me think out of the ordinary, as I usually read a novel and have to write an essay about it. Creating an architectural structure on the book made me think about and analyze the book in a totally different way. Because architecture is focus mostly on space, we had to analyze the feeling it gives to a reader and implement that in our design. This project changed the way I read the book and I had an amazing experience working on this project.