Sunday, February 17, 2008

Accidents & Opportunities

I always seem to be looking for/at imagery from magazines, blogs, books and websites in searching for Vegetated Architecture examples and other inventive ways of blending landscape and urbanism. Via computer generated graphics, photos, and drawings, the media and message is varied in form and success. There are moments where this documentation, either through accident or serendipity, creates 'accidents' that result in some amazing images. The following are a couple of examples. See anything similar out there, let me know.

A post on anArchitecture about Auralab, a computer-rendering firm, and their recent split, yielded an image of JDS Architects SLC' (Shenzen Logistic City) project that blurred vegetation and building. Partly a result of transparency of foreground, and partly tinting of facade, the result perhaps is not vegetated architecture, but has the qualities of landscape/building interaction that is quite stunning.

:: image via anArchitecture

A recent series of images illustrate this in a real building as well. The following is some of a set of photos found via Dezain, from the Kanagawa Institute of Technology designed by Junya Ishigami. Sifting through a series, they tend to be mostly populated by glass walls, interior columns, or sparse furnishings. Also, there seemed to be a lot of awful interior potted plants that had no apparent purpose.

:: image by Akiwo via photozou

In this case, I'm not making architectural judgement. It is kind of random assortment of 'interior' greening, but that analysis is beside the point. Delving further in the photo-stream is an amazing photo of reflected adjacent vegetation, that seems to float somewhere between the inside and outside of the building, as well as seemingly creating the structure of the building. This is a similar impact of the Tattoo House, featured previously here and here on L+U.

:: image by Akiwo via photozou

The fuzziness of graphics and the contextual impacts of sites and buildings allow for multiple interpretations of the representation and the built form. The concept of tromp l'oeil (trick of the eye) has been used many ways in design to expand visual impact and supplement the design, although in a more directed way. The painting at the end of the hall, on the example below, shows this mechanism at work.

:: Schwetzingen Schlossgarten - image via Wikipedia Commons

The idea of representation, particularly hand drawing but also in digital media, make it difficult for landscape to be accurately portrayed in a meaningful way. There are countless examples of renderings of buildings and vegetation on this site, and even with digital tools, there are seldom examples that do not look artificial. Buildings with inert materials and static locations, that can be rendered with photo-realism is possible (although expensive). Landscapes are touchy. Take the ubiquitous awful landscape in SketchUp:

:: Orchid Street Cityhomes - image via Jetson Green

Can we learn, both in design and representation, from some of these accidents and tricks to make our graphic products more informative for communication? Even video games have a much higher level of realism (and simplicity) that we can potentially glean from in providing better representation.

:: Sim City - image via Freds House

There are many accidents that happen in design and planning of any product or place. Some are good; others bad. Accidents and evolution (or succession) is a given in landscapes. This lack of control can be seen as an adversary or as an opportunity for designers. We can use this, with adaptability and flexibility, to create rich and evolving places. We can also be aware that what we planned may change - but that doesn't mean it might be better than what was imagined.

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