Sunday, March 23, 2008

Veg.itecture #17

There seems to be a significant backlog of Vegetated Architecture examples I will catch up on in the upcoming week. For this version, we will focus on a typology that we featured previously, some abstracted and representational vegetation forms in buildings and artwork. These span incorporation into building structure and form - as well as encompass some stand-along installations that provide poignant symbols of the connection with culture and nature.

A recent couple of building examples range from subtle - mimicking natural forms for building structure. The most strking example is for the Education City Convention Center designed by Arata Isozaki, which abstracts the form of Sidra Trees for this building in Doha, Qatar. The representation is not just aesthetic, but a cultural representation of scholarship, quoted via The Designblog: "Two massive 250-meter-long doubly curved steel trees support the giant structure and greet the visitors. And these are no ordinary trees, but the ones mentioned in the Quran as a symbol of the knowledge of the divine: the Sidra Trees."

:: images via The Design Blog

A more modest example, less structural and more aesthetic, comes via Coolboom. The Lilja Chapel by Vesa Oiva is a portable chapel that again evokes natural forms that have strong cultural resonance: "The chapel’s glass wall acts as background for outdoor events. As light flows through the pattern, it brings to mind a forest, the pace where Finns traditionally go to be in peace."

:: images via Coolboom

Another great abstract example from Coolboom is the The Leaf Chapel, in Kobuchizawa, Japan. On the grounds of the Risonare Resort, this building designed by Klein Dytham Architecture. Taking the form of two overlapping leaves, it creates a stunning form (especially at night) and a enveloping gateway to the adjacent views of nature:

Via Coolboom: "The chapel is formed by two leaves. The glass leaf with its delicate lace pattern motif emulates a pergola. The white steel leaf perforated with 4700 holes, each of which hold an acrylic lens, is similar to bride’s veil made of delicate lace. Light filters through the lenses and projects a lace pattern onto the white fabric inside... At the end of the ceremony when the groom lifts the bride’s veil for the kiss the “steel veil” magically opens too, revealing the pond and the enchanting nature beyond. Then the wedding party carefully walks on the stepping stones across the pond where the lawn surrounded by trees welcomes them for the champagne toast."

:: images via Coolboom

On the fully artistic side, a few examples from literal to representational. gardenhistorygirl is a great blog that spans garden history as well as connecting the dots between history and current practice (something we should all do more often) - check it out (and thanks to Pruned for the link). This example 'Stacking' is by artist Alastair Heseltine redefines the phases of material into a representation of the organic tree form.

:: image via gardenhistorygirl

A more literal interpretation of trees is an installation by Roxy Paine in NY City's Madison Park. I was welcomed by the ghg's comment that: "... tree forms from unusual materials are not in themselves terribly unique, I think these are brilliantly sited. I love the way they seem to reach for each other." My first reaction was, oh, more metal trees... but I do agree that the 'gateway' was an inventive formal interpretation.

:: image via gardenhistorygirl

We end with some whimsical examples from Tokyo Train Stations, via PingMag, offering a range of art installations that evoke a multiple media to create obvious and subtle forms: "Often, these representations of nature are not that obvious: Some stations find a connection by selecting colours, abstractly reflecting the tone of the environment in that neighbourhood."

:: images via PingMag

These examples have a duality that is important. One is picking up on the organic nature, via elements of Biomimicry, both technical and aesethetic, in the development and implementation of building forms. The other is capturing the beneficial qualities of views of nature in places where it is not readily accessible. Both of these accentuate and provide additional depth to the continual blurring of architecture and nature that is making the experience of built form more rich and complex.

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