Monthly Archives: March 2017

Digital archives

With this view of the interior train station, its easy to notice the sheer beauty of the design of the station. The soaring ceiling gives the traveler a sense of openness and potential just like traveling should. The cultural influences that are shown here are most definitely roman and neoclassical architecture. The doors are lined with the big grand arch way just like the arch of Constantine. Also, the freezes that line the inside of the station is also pays homage to the roman style architecture. This roman culture plays a big role in the aesthetics of union station.

Annotated bib 3+4


National Parks Service. “Union Station.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 2016,

I will be using this source as a background source. This source goes in depth on the history of union station from the earliest of times. This source talks about how Union was designed to be and how it is strategically placed in the mall. This source will provide all the context that I need regarding Union Station. By having historical context to the train station, I can be more confident when making a claim about the architecture or the design or purpose of the building. The historical context gives me grounds on which I am able to argue. I can also use this source as my exhibit. I can analyze what was going on in the time of this station being built and apply what its original rhetoric effect was compared to what it has evolved to today due to the change of times. This is both an exhibit and background source


“Union Station.” DCNRHS – Washington, D.C. Chapter NRHS, DC National Railroad Historical Society

I will be using this source as my exhibit. For a lot of my paper, I am analyzing the aesthetics of union station and the station’s intended rhetorical effect on the people inside the station. This cite gives me detailed analysis of the structures. This site also provides historical context by providing dates. Union station has been renovated several times and this cite clearly shows which renovations were made and when. These renovations all were for are for a reason. I’m going to analyze these renovations and talk about their rhetoric effect. This source could also be used as a background source. Even Though I feel that I will be taking quotes directly from this source and analyzing their effect, I can also see me just reading through this source to get a better grasp of how this trainstation came to be. Just like my previous background source, this source and be very informative by keeping the information in the back of my mind so I have a more solid grasp on the station.


Gander, Kashmira. “How Architecture Uses Space, Light and Material to Affect Your Mood.”The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 19 Apr. 2016

I’m going to be using this source as my argument. My main thesis is that buildings have an equal effect on the people just as the people have an effect on the building. This article discusses how architects use the buildings light, space and material to effect the users of the building. This article gives examples of already pre existing modern buildings that utilize light and design to send a subconscious method on the people inhabiting the buildings. This article stresses that buildings are built first and foremost for the occupants. I feel that this parallels with the intentions of the design of union station.


Tudorica, Alexandria. “The Influence of Train Stations’ Environment on Travelers’ Origin Station Choice Behavior: a TOD Approach .” Technical University of Eindhoven, 2014.

I am going to be using this source as my Method. This essay focuses on the environmental influences that transactions give because of their design. So this essay is quite different from the point that I’m trying to convey in my essay, however, the concepts are similar. Tudorica talks about how train stations have some sort of rhetorical influence on the environment around them, that’s more or less the same message that I’m trying to convey in my essay.

Reading Analysis 4


In this chapter of the City of Rhetoric, David Fleming aims to draw conclusions about all of the subcategories of the built environments. He looks at a low income African American ghetto, and affluent white suburb, a mixed income “urban village” and a highrise city. Fleming continues in this chapter by individually listing and analyzing the effects of the different social spaces. For example, one of the social scapes he talks about is the urban district near the north side of chicago. He describes the urban district as an amalgamation of the good and the bad, the successful and the failures. “the Near North Side of Chicago, one at the crossroads of a troubled past, a conflicted present, and an uncertain future.” (Fleming Part 3). This quote illustrates the juxtaposition and contrast of the living styles and socioeconomics inside this diverse city. At first one might think that diversity conflict is good. However fleming argues that the city of Chicago does a poor job and embracing and harboring these differences. This poor coordination between the ever so different lifestyles in the urban environment is detrimental to the success of the individuals living in them. Fleming concludes his analysis on the urban environment in the north side of chicago by saying “Without a healthy attitude toward conflict, its inevitability and virtue, we will be unable to build either good cities in particular or good public spheres in general.” ( Flemming part 2). He concludes that chicago isn’t fostering the diversity that it holds. Diversity is a blessing, and given that most parts of chicago are either in the ghetto or in the suburbs, both of which lack diversity, when one place that has diversity isn’t being embraced, this blessing of a melting pot of individuals becomes a curse. This whole chapter is supporting evidence to his main thesis statement, that built environments have an effect on every part of human’s life. From their productivity, to their economy to their socioeconomic status.  


RA 3


In City of Rhetoric by David Flemming, Flemming aims to convey to the readers that all built environments influence the way people interact with each other. These interactions can be through conversation, public discourse or language. In part two of the book, Flemming provides commentary on different types of subcultures and societies within cities. In this section, he focuses on the suburbs. Fleming talks about why academics have a “thinly veiled disdain” for suburbia as well as talks about the history of suburbia and the suburbs effect of society and vice versa. A man by the name of Gautreaux implemented the Gautreaux Assisted Housing Program in the late 70’s. This was a private, non profit housing program that moved family out of the main city of Chicago and put them in affluent, mainly white, neighborhoods. This new conglomeration of housing soon became the  definition suburbs that we picture today. Fleming gives the definition of what this new housing program turns into. “makes low-density density housing (2) possible, while the fear of urban heterogeneity (3) makes it attractive. As Dolores Hayden has put it, suburbia is the physical expression of the middle-class desire for living in a detached house (2) with like-minded neighbors (3) in a quasi-pastoral setting (1)” ( Fleming pt. 2). The result is a very homogenous group of homes where the look and the personality of the people living in these homes are similar and alike, this negates all types of diversity for the most part, given that a majority of the people living in these homes were alike in race and socioeconomic status. This is a perfect example of how society can be shaped by history. This also exemplifies how long the effects of these subcultures, such as the suburbs, can last.


Commonplace 9

The quote that I am going to be analyzing is from Plato’s Apology, spoken from the perspective of Socrates.


All I know is that I know nothing.”


This quote was said by socrates during his time on trial. At the time, socrates was being tried for corrupting the youth and taking power away from the gods and government at the time. On a shallow level, this qoute could be read as himself pleading not guilty. Socrates could just be claiming that he has no knowledge of him corrupting the youth, or perhaps he had no intention of disrupting the powers that be at this time. However, philosophers at this time had a very humble opinion of themselves. Even Though socrates was a teacher of the sort, he claimed he knew nothing. All philosophers for that matter claimed they knew nothing, and their purpose was to discover the truth and enlighten themselves. They were by no means dumb, but they also were nowhere near knowing the answers. The word philosopher actually means wisdom seeker. The whole point of a philosopher is to discover more wisdom and the truth. Furthermore, when socrates says all he knows is that he knows nothing, he is in fact saying that the nothing that he knows in something. The possession of the idea of nothing is a achievement for a philosopher. Because they know nothing, it opens up the opportunity to know more.


Commonplace 8

The text that I am going to be talking about today is a rap song by the rap group the Flatbush zombies titled “ Amerikkkan pie”


“That fear a black man with tattoos and bandanas

But when a white man wear tattoos and bandanas

And joins a biker gang it’s all cool where the balance?

Hate my black flesh, bet you’re mad that I came up

You cannot change, rearrange my chemical make-up”


This is a very interesting song, quite to the point. First off, the title of the song reads “ Amerikkkan pie” The way that I read this title is both a play on words as well as a metaphor. American pie could first off be read as a symbol of America as a whole, giving off a the connotation of a perfect utopian society. When one thinks of an American pie, a favorite dessert of the country, they think of red, white and blue and  flawless patriotic country. Spelling American with three K’s foreshadows the racism that is present in american today as well as taints the perfect image of an american pie. The phrase Amerikkkan pie both symbolizes perfect America as well as tainting the american dream with racism. The rapper Meechy darko speaks on the double standard that is present in the united states. He raises the question of why society okay with white men in biker gangs when a black man in a regular gang causes more conflict, where the only changed variable in this situation is the difference in skin color. The next two lines illustrate that he, Meechy Darko, is black and that fact is unchangeable. Him being black is just as out of his control as a white individual’s skin color is. There should be no reason for society to discriminate against merely a color.  

The Beauty Of a Train Station


Victor Hugo, a french writer, once said “Architecture has recorded the great ideas of the human race. Not only every religious symbol, but every human thought has its page in that vast book.”(Hugo).  Architecture speaks just as many words as pictures do. The world is filled with built environments that conjure conversation, political discourse and social interactions in addition to their functionality of shelter. Before there was language, words or even symbols, there was one form of rhetoric that was always present. There were built environments that subconsciously influenced they way that these societies interacted. Prehistoric animals built shelters for housing, and plants evolved to produce shade when it was too sunny. Yes, these structures originated from necessity rather than the stylistic medium of art that it is today, but nevertheless, these structures conveyed an element of rhetoric that evolved into the artisanal craft that surrounds us today. A perfect example of this is seen in Union Station where a mutual relationship between society and built environment takes place. Most people believe that architecture is the sole influence on the way societies interact. I’m going to explain how the construction and design of Union not only influences the behavior of the people of the station, but also how the people of the station equally influence the construction and design of the building.


Driving up to the Union Station I noticed how Grand and inviting the exterior was, with alludes to transportation, exploration, destination and location as well as an ongoing theme of the nationalism of D.C . The front of the station was all white and lined in vertical pillars. Something I noticed about exterior of the building was the the strong pronunciation of horizontal and vertical lines. When analyzing paintings, sculptures, photography or any other visual medium of art, vertical and horizontal lines have a engaging subconscious effect on the viewer. In Rigdon’s Elements and principles of design, he describes the use of lines “Horizontal lines are restful, yield to gravity, create quiet” (Rigdon 2). Horizontal lines bring forth a similarity to landscapes and horizon. Whereas vertical lines offer stability as they are parallel to the earth. Things that are vertical often are holding something up, offering support. When combining the two, horizontal and vertical lines, 90 degree angles are formed. 90 degree angles are the president for structural security. These elements of lines is most commonly used in visual art, but can be applied to architecture. As a transportation station, the theme given by the building should be movement, migration and energy. However it should be the interior that invokes such locomotive traits rather than the outside. The inside of the station is where you catch your train, ready for the next location in your life. The outside, however, is a train station. It’s a location, an origin and a destination. The city of D.C isn’t moving and isn’t going anywhere, people are departing and arriving from this immovable and stationary location. This is shown architecturally through the vertical columns that influence permanence and stability throughout the building itself. The neoclassical architectural influence of the romans is clearly depicted in this building. This is exemplified by the pillars, freezes, roof and symmetry. This style of architecture is seen throughout the White House, Capitol building and Lincoln Memorial. The geographical placement of Union stations was by no means an accident. The lead city planner Peter Charles L’Enfant meticulously designed the whole mall in during the early 1800’s. It’s only fitting that Union Station should be placed at the top of the National Mall, acting as a cherry on top to the most historic and important buildings in D.C given that Union’s architecture is consistent with that of theses said buildings. Union station is littered with statues of Christopher columbus. He is seen in frieze’s on the exterior but more prominently displayed as the main statue at the front of the station. Placing Columbus as the centerpiece of the exterior as well as depicting him in the frieze’s was fitting given that he discovered the country in which this city lies. Columbus was also an explorer; a traveler. This sense of travel and exploration is obvious given that this is a train station. Like I mentioned before, the exterior evokes destination and permanence through the prominent vertical lines. Columbus is outside, therefore he appeals this theme of destination, this can be seen through the life of columbus himself. He was an explored. His final destination was America, hence his dominance here in the nation’s capitol. He is a symbol of both exploration and destination just as Union Station is. Retouching on the ideas of vertical lines, Columbus is standing upright. He could have been built sitting or doing something with movement. His strong vertical upright stature shows that himself, D.C and the Union Station is here to stay. They are both unmoving.

Inside Union I was immediately bombarded by how aesthetically different the environment was. Where the outside of the building conveyed destination, the inside of the building conveyed travel, exploration and movement. The white outside of the building reflected the light in a manner that lit up the building like a highlighter providing immense contrast with the green grass of the mall and the blue of the sky. In Fleming’s city of rhetoric, Fleming describes the intended use of these buildings “smaller public… often do a better job of encouraging and rewarding direct involvement by ordinary individuals in communal self-determination” (Flemming 38). This is clearly shown through the train station. The public is directly engulfing themselves in the rhetoric of the station. This appeals to the many aspects of travel that the inside conjous.  My eyes automatically felt a cool blue when looking at the exterior. The inside of the building was dark, it lacked windows other than the few by the entrance. The gold leafing and off white marble tiles let off a warmer yellow look, much different from the blue cool look on the outside.  In photography, the words cool and warm are technical terms, referring to the white balance of the image. The purity of white is adjusted by making the picture cooler by adding blue, or warmer by adding yellow. The contrast between the tonal temperatures inside and outside the buildings highlighted the difference between the two. The inside of the terminal was by no means dull. There is beautiful marbled flooring, high arching ceilings with a tessellated circular pattern and enough Columbus statues to go around. This was reminiscent of Rome’s Arch of Constantin and the Baths of Diocletian, both examples of neoclassical architecture. As the outside of this station represented destination and permanence, the inside of the building was very different. As vertical lines ment stability and horizontal lines ment tranquility, curved and diagonal lines symbolizes energy and movement. The arched ceiling was the biggest most obvious example of these curved lines. These themes of locomotion are appropriate given the inside of this building was meant to show exploration. The tessellated circles plastered over the arches are another example of the on going theme of curvature and flow that the rest of the interior exemplifies. Circles give off a sense of infinity, they have no beginning or end, perhaps this parallels the theme of motion and everlasting exploration, leaving one origin to arrive at a new destination, only for that destination to become a new origin. This idea of travel only makes sense inside of this station. The interior of a station is where people get on their buses and board their trains. Movement is depicted through the built environment just as it’s depicted through the people.

“Architecture has recorded the great ideas of the human race. Not only every religious symbol, but every human thought has its page in that vast book.”(Hugo). This quote is shown through Union Station. Or is Union Station shown through this quote? I believe that the built environments can influence the people just as much as the people influence the built environment. Union Station appeals to the most broad of an audience available, anyone needing to travel. The still and permanent aura of Union’s exterior is demonstrated by the people outside, they’re still for the most part. Weather they are is on the corner smoking a cigarette, on their phone waiting for an uber or chatting outside. All these people are immovable and stationary, just as the exterior architecture is designed. Whereas inside, people are bustling around to make their train, they’re caught in the frenzy of travel that you and I all know too well. Even their mind is in motion, only thinking about their destination, only thinking about the next step in their adventures. These people are in motion and energetic just as the interior architecture suggests. The question arises whether the station is designed in reaction to the travelers, or the travelers are acting in reaction to the building. If the bricks, paint and furniture that make up these structures are words in a book, as hugo puts it, are these words recordings for how people are acting in said environment? Or are these words instructions for how people should act in said environment. Architecture is developed through human thought; humans are going to act a certain way when traveling, therefore buildings will be built to accommodate those actions. However, human thought is developed through architecture as well; humans are going to act a certain way when in an environment that fosters these actions. The line between us influencing the buildings and buildings influencing us blurs because we are surrounded by these built environments just as these built environments are surrounded by us. Not only do the context of our lives disappear into the built environments but the context of our lives become the built environments. The purpose of these built environments blends in with the purpose of our individual lives and becomes one. Aside from the fact that it’s a little flashy, Union Station doesn’t necessarily stand out because it’s designed to fit seamlessly into our everyday lives. The reasoning behind our trip to union station, weather that’s franticly traveling or patiently waiting for an uber, is complimented by the designs of the building. I feel this is where buildings shine, when our lives and the building’s function seamlessly blend into one, and all we’re left with is not missing our next train.

Works Cited

“Washington, DC :: History of the Station.” Union Station, Union Station, 2016, Accessed 15 Feb. 2017.

“Washington – Union Station, DC (WAS).” Great American Stations, America’s Great Stations, Accessed 25 Feb. 2017.

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany, NY, SUNY Press, 2009.

Hugo, Victor, and Isabel Florence Hapgood. Notre Dame De Paris. New York, T.Y. Crowell & Co., 1891.

Farr, Kristin. “Analyzing the Elements of Art.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 2 Dec. 2015,

Failure is Great

Commonplace 7

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” (Beckett)

Here, I believe that Beckett is speaking about the beauty of failure and how it is a crucial step in growth and progress. He first starts by asking if you’ve ever tried. Trying implies that you have an urge to get somewhere, you have to make a journey before you can get to your destination. The question of if one has tried asks “ have you attempted to make a journey?” The word better in the phrase “ fail better” undermines the preconceived idea that failure is a negative thing. Failure is a good thing, and the more you do it the more aware you are of your wrong doings, making the the sum of your failures equivalent to a solution. This sentence structure consists of multiple short sentences without a subject. This shows the ambiguity of the sentence in regards to who its refering to and as to what it is referring to. This could be talking to anyone and about anything. We read this sentence more as a fact or a statement. I don’t hear any voice or tone.

Commonplace 6

Commonplace 6

The quote that I am going to be talking about is an excerpt from the screenplay of Whiplash. Whiplash is a movie released in 2014 and stars J.K Simmons and Miles Teller. The movies screenplay was written by and Directed by Damien Chazelle. After the student, Andrew, was kicked out of school for getting into a physical altercation with his music teacher for being too hard of a teacher and showing tough love, this quote was spoken by J.K Simmons.  

“There are no two words in the English language more harmful than “good job”.”

I feel that this quote captures not only the personality and motives of Jk Simmons as a music instructor, but it also encompases the over all tone of the movie. Throughout the whole move, Simmons is a very verbally abusive, stubborn and strict music teacher. He never praises anyone for doing anything correct and he picks on every little aspect of their performance that was flawed even the slightest bit. This is because he believes the moment he tells anyone they’ve done a good job, he feels that he’s telling them that they’ve reached the peak of their performance, when in reality there is always room for improvement. This mentality was foreshadowed when Simmons speaks to Teller before his audition telling him to try his best. He uses this quote to describe it.

 “charlie parker became ‘the bird’ because joe jonas threw a cymbal at his head”