Tag Archives: history

The One With The Final Year Project Pilot

Dear Kamarul,

Last semester I proposed a dome installation for my final year project, portraying heaven & hell inside the dome. Back then, I know that I wanted to work with the dome as I feel it is an interesting medium to explore. Heaven & Hell was just something that I came up with in an instant. About 2 weeks ago, I had my first meeting with my supervisor and he asked me an important question, do I want to work with the dome or on the topic of heaven & hell? I couldn’t give a straight answer but it got me thinking. Today, it is still something that lingers in my mind but I feel like I have an answer already. Yes, I do want to work with the dome! This brings me to the first step, searching what is the dome and the history behind it. Let’s look at some of the uses of dome throughout history.

This is the Treasury of Atreus located in Mycenae, Greece, constructed during the Bronze Age around 1250BCE. It is a beehive dome and basically is was a tomb.


It was built underground.Schatzhaus_des_Atreus,_Querschnitt

Next, we have the world famous Pantheon in Rome. It was built to house the Gods and this is another uses of the dome.


There is the oculus in the middle of the dome to let light shine through and light up the space.


Another famous dome is of course the Dome Of The Rock. The Dome shape has also become the architectural symbol of Islam as well as most mosque has the dome as an identification.


Another famous dome would be the Brunelleschi’s Dome over at the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.


It is a very grand scale project and during the time, the construction of the dome was considered as an architectural genius by the Brunelleschi. Florence-Duomo-Nov07-RAW4827AR900

Igloo, the snow house, can be considered as a dome as well. igloo-against-blue-sky

Another famous monument is the Taj Mahal. Built by Shah Jahan for his wife, the main architecture stands out is of douse the dome located at the top of the building. The Taj Mahal is of course an mausoleum.


Another dome like structure would be the Stupas. Below, the great Stupa at Sanchi was built to honour and shelter the relics of the buddha.


Now let’s take a look at some of the modern domes. These 2 below are Geodesic dome.

geodesic dome is a hemisphericalthin-shell structure (lattice-shell) based on a network of geodesics (great circles) on the surface of a sphere or a hemisphere. The geodesics intersect to form triangular elements, which have local, triangular rigidity, and so distribute the structural stress throughout the geodesic sphere.

This is the Biosphere, located in Montreal. It is a museum dedicated to the environment. I guess it make sense as a dome can seen as a sustainable design and it fits with the theme of the museum, of taking care of the environment.800px-Mtl._Biosphere_in_Sept._2004

Below is called the Eden Project, located in Cornwall, England.

The complex is dominated by two huge enclosures consisting of adjoining domes that house thousands of plant species,and each enclosure emulates a natural biome. The biomes consist of hundreds of hexagonal and pentagonal, inflated, plastic cells supported by steel frames. The largest of the two biomes simulates a Rainforest environment and the second, a Mediterranean environment. The attraction also has an outside botanical garden which is home to many plants and wildlife native to Cornwall and the UK in general; it also has many plants that provide an important and interesting backstory, for example, those with a prehistoric heritage.


It is such an interesting sight to see such massive structure. Even though the design of the dome is not organic, it takes some time to get used to seeing it in the landscape.

I started out researching on the history of the dome and I am surprise with all the informations that I got. I never really realise that the dome design have been used through out history. I feel that this part of knowing the history is important as I feel that the symbolism of the usage of dome can be important in my work as well. So far we have seen that the shape of the dome has been used as place for worship, sheltering, honouring, a place for mourning and also a place of research. The usage dome have evolved through out time and different cultures and religions has its own way of defining the dome.

For my own final year project, I wish to inject some history of the dome design into my project. I see the dome as my medium and not just a place for someone to enter and see a 360 film. I want the dome to be more than just a space for people to watch some video. They must leave the dome feeling different.


Week 2: Africa In Another Light

All images I have of Africa was all from Hollywood movies and documentaries from Nat Geo or Discovery Channel. Africa have this stereotypes that it is a very poor country where only a small percentage of people who are wealthy. And who can not imagine Africa without the Blood Diamond conflict?

Digging for diamonds in Marange, Zimbabwe. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Digging for diamonds in Marange, Zimbabwe. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Plus, Madiba who was everybody favourite person in the world who proves that prison does not need to break a person.

Pienaar receives the 1995 rugby World Cup from Mandela: 'During those six weeks what happened was incredible.' Photograph: Philip Littleton/AFP/Getty Images

Pienaar receives the 1995 rugby World Cup from Mandela: ‘During those six weeks what happened was incredible.’ Photograph: Philip Littleton/AFP/Getty Images

And I also listen to music where some artists speaks about Africa, especially Sierra Leone. Kanye West have a song.


Plus, those naked tribesman from ‘The God Must Be Crazy’ and all those documentaries about the rich cultures of those tribesman are images I have in my head. I never knew that ivory was used to make amazing sculptures until I seen the slides! Currently, diamonds is being valued but back in the 16th century, ivory was a material that was used to create beautiful sculpture. It’s no wonder they call ivory as the ‘white gold’.

Obviously when the Portuguese came into shore to West Africa, they play a big influence on the Africa culture and this is evident in the ivories that they produce during this time.

Take a look at this for example.

Oliphant Sapi-Portuguese style Sierra Leone, late 15th century Ivory, metal 64.2 x 16.4 x 9cm National Museum of African Art

Sapi-Portuguese style
Sierra Leone, late 15th century
Ivory, metal
64.2 x 16.4 x 9cm
National Museum of African Art

This Oliphant or also known as side blow horns, is a good example that marries both Portuguese and African aesthetics. They are use for group hunting excursion in Europe.

A close up of this image we can see that the design is very intricate. The image below shows a close up and we can identify the cross which symbolises Christianity. Surrounded by intricate geometric patterns, its mimicking african textiles patterns. Actually, all the patterns of this Oliphant could be consider african aesthetics.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 12.40.15 pm

Here, there is an image of a badge which is the coat of arms of the Portuguese royal house. This clearly tells us that this must be a commission work by the royal family. We can also see a figure on the left wearing a very fanciful robe which might be of royal design. The figure is also seen wearing a hat covering his hair which could also symbolises importance status.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 12.40.29 pm

Here, it shows a hunt scene featuring many animals. I can identify stags, boars and many more that can be found in both Europe and Africa. These animals might represent Africa as a rich nature homes for these animals.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 12.40.45 pm



Again, here is a very large coat of arm surrounded by a bird, most probably a phoenix, which represent royal and also strength. This object must be an important object to the royal then. The phoenix is also carved out in a very african aesthetics unlike a western representation of a phoenix. Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 12.40.58 pm

The craftsman who did this Oliphant clearly balances the portuguese and African influences in one design. The material itself already is a clear representation of Africa during the 16th Century. Ivory sculptures like this were usually sent to the Portuguese as gift from the locals and even for sale. The Portuguese sees ivory as a souvenir material as they don’t have plenty back in their home town.

My perception of Africa have clearly been one sided and this tells us the rich history that Africa have way back then during the time of colonisation.