One of the most common connections I see made as an undergraduate architecture professor is between that of art and nature. More specifically, the presence of designs in nature that are now idolized and commercialized in modern day architecture.
Surely you have seen patterns in nature — whether it be the radial pattern of the sun or the unsteady makeup of an ant hill — being used as inspiration for a multi-million dollar school, church, or apartment complex. In this post, I want to discuss one of the ways I believe to be most important for those pursuing art, architecture, or natural science degrees. It is the importance of traveling, and why the experiences and real-world knowledge you gain cannot be beat. The knowledge that you learned in the classroom finally clicks when you see the real world examples and apply the knowledge first-hand.
In my own example, I discuss the trip I had to Iran. I went to Tehran for three days, and there I was amazed by the architecture upon landing. Taking from influence of ancient Egyptian and modern Western architecture, I was surprised to see the diverse array and combination of multiple styles into one. Instead of seeing these in a textbook in a lecture hall, I was able to see them firsthand while traveling. Next, I took a bus to Tabriz, got my hiking sticks, and climbed Eynali, a mountain range in Tabriz. I was able to see the nature, the change in air pressure, the clouds, and the other facts that I had read about in my biology textbook. However, for once, it was by experiencing it.
Never again will I forget these tidbits of knowledge because they are now associated with other experiences — hands on ones that I gained through traveling — that carry mental weight.
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The ‘Bubble’ is an inflatable conceived Siller Scofidio + Renfro architects is an event space planned for the cylindrical courtyard of the Hirshhorn Museum. In respectful dialogue with the Modernist icon originally designed by Gordon Bunshaft in 1974, the Bubble is an architecture of air; a pneumatic structure enclosed only by a translucent membrane that sneezes into the void of the building and oozes out of the top and beneath its mass.
In contrast to the familiar strategy of roofing over courtyards of institutional buildings.The Bubble produces a soft building inside of a hard one in which existing and new spaces, both interior and exterior are playfully intertwined. The ephemeral structure is erected once a year for two months. The additional 11 000 sf of sheltered space accommodates audiences of 500-800 for array of public events including performing arts, lectures, and debates. Its form is shaped by a series of cable rings that constrict the membrane, pulling it away from the inner wall of the courtyard while other cables tether it into place. The resulting contours act acoustically and produce changing shafts and pockets of outdoor space experienced from the ground and the galleries on the second and third level.
Utopia & Utility Launching at EDIT: ‘Transformed’- a collection of large stacking vessels combing ceramic, glass and wood. The symmetry of the shape is shifted to appear off centred on one side and traditional on the other, playing with our perception of familiar forms.
Completed in 2004, The Studio in Bethnal Green is an inventive conversion of an existing Victorian workshop into a contemporary living space. The tall, thin, dark sliver of a space was formerly an industrial shed wedged between existing buildings at ground floor level with windows on all sides at high level. The whole structure was separated from the street by a narrow courtyard passageway.
Threefold Architects’ challenge was to inventively reconfigure the internal layout to maximise natural light and space and stretch a limited budget to create a modern and innovative domestic space.
The response was a six metre high glazed slot and double height entrance hall opening onto a private courtyard to draw as much daylight as possible into the internal spaces. A central spine wall separates an open floating plywood stair on one side and the passage to the snug bedroom and bathroom on the other. At first floor level open plan living, dining and kitchen spaces merge seamlessly into one another, unified by a nine metre run of storage units, which cantilever over the double height entrance. White painted walls allow the constantly shifting light conditions outside the building to dictate the mood of the space and the original distressed dark timber floor has been retained as a nod to the building’s industrial history.