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C L AY Architectural Futuristic Moulding

Kevin George


Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

“As life evolves, our cities and our architecture need to evolve with it. Our cities are not polluted or congested because they have to be. They are what they are because that’s how we made them. So when something doesn’t fit anymore, we architects have the ability - and responsibility - to make sure that our cities don’t force us to adapt to out dated left overs from the past, but actually fit to the way we want to live.” 1 – Bjarke Ingels The existing built environment in modern cities is sprawling with rigid monolithic forms that are immune to change. People are forced to adapt and live in this unsustainable setting that has to undergo renewal and change all the time. Architecture as it is exists as a permanent form that is forced to stay in its location for a long time, and every building that is designed around it takes its context into consideration. This restricts the possibilities of design and prevents people from experiencing the freedom that design has to offer.

1. Bjarke Ingels, Yes is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution; Published by BIG A/S; Evergreen GmbH, Koln,2009; p. 14

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Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

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1: Le Corbusier; Villa Savoye, Paris, France, 1928 2: Mies Van Der Rohe; Fransworth house, Plano, Illinois, 1951 3: Walter Gropius, Bauhaus; Dessau, Germany, 1925

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Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

Modernist influence: Solid structures immune to change The modern era of architecture brought about by the advancement of technology and materials, has been responsible for restricting the thinking and flexibility of designing buildings by constraining the design to vertical and horizontal flat straight jackets, most of which have been designed using Cartesian cubic spatial co-ordinates. The result has become an array of monotonous boxes that does not relate to the needs and desires of the user. The age of modernist architects such as Mies Van Der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius brought about structures and spaces that resisted mutation and adaptation as the demands of the society changed. The result was a progression of more architectural styles that failed to satisfy the functional cravings of the public. ‘Form follows function’ was the promoting phrase for all the modernists. It asserts that form should strictly follow function with the ornamentation subtracted from design. But the problem lies with the fact that modernist architects strictly dictate the spatial functions creating concrete internal spaces for the entire life span of the building. Hence neither the functions nor the form are interchangeable if the inhabitant wishes to do so. Le Corbusier believed that a house is ‘a machine for living in’. A machine that is mass produced while maintaining its purity of form. But the transformation of a dwelling into a machine would reduce people to mere inhabitants without choice and excitement. The modernist movement did solve some design problems by keeping up to date with technology but it failed to create structures that were adaptable to change.

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4; Peter Zumthor; Therme Vlas, Switzerland 1993 5. Foster+Partners; Hearst Tower, New York’ 2006 6. Steven Holl; Museum of Fine Arts; Kansas City; 2007 7. Daniel Libeskind; Royal Ontario Museum; Toronto; 2007 8. Tadao Ando; 4x4 House; Japan; 2004

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Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

Stagnent Architectural trends: A Repercussion of the Architects Ignorance Modernist construction has made an impregnable effect on the entire architectural time stream up till the present era. Architects and planners still work in designing and creating rigid surfaces that does not submit to change. The contemporary practice of current architects such as Steven Holl, Norman Foster, Richard Meier, Peter Zumthor and all similar successful stylistic spatial designers seem to have evolved from the influence of the modernist era of creating stagnant architecture with the same inadaptable soul. In today’s world we are still in this inertia of design thinking because Architects and planners either don’t see the flexibility that adaptable surfaces has to offer or they choose to create their own egoistic sculptures to showcase their skills. Although they create masterpieces that stand as concrete iconic structures for a certain period of time, there will come a moment when people demand for an anarchic democratic revolution of the built environment-A structure than can change and adapt when required, that is no longer subject to the Individual vision of an Architect.

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Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

IMAGES AND FIGURES THAT INSPIRE THE MANIFESTO 9

SOLID WALL incapable of change

MOULDABLE WALL

PERFECT ERGONOMICS

facilitates change according to the users needs

properties that enable it to set and release whenever required

urban life in reality

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mouldable architecture responds to the users needs.

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The moulding aspect of clay

vernacular mud architecture

9. The concept of mouldable surface in providing perfect ergonomic structures 10. Conceptual Vision of a mouldable environment ; Project: de Canyon; S(toggle) 11. Conceptual Vision of a mouldable and adaptable surface

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providing the perfect ergonomics and acting as a public furniture.


Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

Mouldable planes: The future of Architecture If Architecture were to evolve itself to be moulded and sculpted by the user, a perfectly adaptable dwelling can be achieved. A dwelling that encourages change responding to the inhabitants desires. Clay is like a Deleuzian virtuality, where the mouldable fascination is seen virtually as a diagram and the actualization of the virtuality brings about many possibilities 2. The plasticity, playful ease of use and the sustainable qualities of this conceptual element highlights the future of urban cities. The sculptural quality of the material brings about possibilities for people to display their creativity or to respond to their civic needs immediately. The cities of the future can be crafted and set to an immense variety of options facilitating dynamism and change whenever it is required. Building planes can be pushed in or out, holes could be carved into a structure and transportation networks inserted into existing buildings if new routes of commuting were necessary. This revolutionary idea of creating cities and buildings that can be mouldable and customized by anyone brings about a sustainable self-evolving concept that can be experimented and created by the public. The need for study and computer aided modelling could be eliminated if building surfaces are flexible and mouldable by touch. The moulding aspect of architecture defines itself as an evolving specie that perfects itself at a point when left to the influence of the user. The result is a complete functional space created by how people react and behave in their surroundings.

2.(1966) Le Bergsonisme (Paris: PUF); tr. as Bergsonism, by Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam, New York: Zone Books, 1988.

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12. Musgum Clay houses, Cameroon 13. Adobe Homes, Pueblo de Taos, New Mexico 14: Antonio Gaudi; Caso Batlo; The sculpted faรงade with varying details and expression

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Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

Historic Influence: Inspiration from the past The proposed idea is that of a material that can be set and released according to the external influence that demands its change. Even though this is a non-existing reality, the basic root of this concept dates back to the prehistoric times when people built their houses and their cities using their own hands. Mud dwellings were crafted and moulded to bring out organic settlements. Notable architects such as Antonio Gaudi saw the power of moulding in design to create signature sculptural buildings. GaudĂ­ found a way to give expressions to his forms in architecture. He created this by moulding organic and anarchic forms in his buildings that were inspired from nature. The realization of architecture as sculptural and expressionist was inspired by Gaudi.

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15: Kenzo Tange; A Plan for Tokyo 1960, plan for the city as living, moving and evolving creatures 16: Kisho Kurokawa;Tokyo; Nakagin Capsule tower 1972 17. Kiyonori Kikutake, Marine City, Hawaii, 1963; Metabolist movement conceptual proposal; Older units could be replaced by newer ones from the cylindrical cores

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Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

The futurism of moulding was also influenced by the metabolism movement. A group of young men headed by Kenzo Tange who presented their avante garde proposal for a futuristic city entitled ‘Metabolism 1960-The Proposals for New Urbanism’. The plan was generated in order to bring about a solution regarding the rapid growth and unpredictable changes of contemporary cities. The authors of Metabolism suggests that the human society is a vital process of continuous development and because of this; cities are to be considered as an organic process that is constantly flowing and changing, a process that can never arrive at an ideal destination. Tange’s approaches to these concepts were more symbolic rather than practical. His intension was to promote the essential characters of a contemporary city by including mobility, openness, and adaptability to change and growth 3. Although this concept was unexecuted, the era of metabolism brought forward experimental buildings such as the Nakagin Capsule tower Building by Kurokawa Kisho which showcased the lifestyle of living in capsules that can be plugged in or removed hence establishing the freedom for a change in the program.

3. Zhongjie Lin; Urban Structure for the Expanding Metropolis: Kenzo Tange’s 1960 Plan for Tokyo; Journal of Architectural and Planning Research24:2 (Summer, 2007); p109-p121

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18: Hyposurface wall; experimental dynamic wall with constant motion 19: Future Systems (Jan Kapilky+Amanda Levete), self ridges, Birmingham,2003, the blob skin clad in silver discs highlighting the fluidity of form 20: Greg Lynn; Form; Embryological houses, 2000

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Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

Twenty first century scenario: Concepts influencing a mouldable environment The field of digital architecture has brought out a new dimension and outlook in designing buildings. Structures and Programs that are fluid in nature with smooth transitions and gently blending have revolutionized the current generation of architecture. Clay is a derivative of this fluid curvilinear architecture yet more interactive and responsive at its outcome. Greg Lynn mentions about how a form can be shaped by the collaboration between an envelope and the active context in which it is situated. He compares it with the naval design where a boats hull is designed to anticipate motion 4. He also coined the term ‘blob’ which denotes curved and bulgy forms designed and fabricated virtually using computer aided functions. Blobitecture seem to be the current emerging trend in architecture where architects vary the topological surface of planes in order to translate time into space 5. UN studio’s Klein bottle is a derivative of this blob phenomenon as an object that has been moulded to stay continuous throughout its spatial transformation as it moves from a surface to a hole and back again 6. This trend has also been carried out in architecture by various architects including Frank Gehry, UN studio, Zaha Hadid, Decoi Architects and by Reiser +Umemoto. Moulding in Architecture is seen to be pursued to create sculpturally smooth buildings and spaces.

4. Greg Lynn; Animate Form; Princeton Architectural Press, 1999, p. 10 5. Antoine Picon; Digital Culture in Architecture; An introduction for the design professions;Birkhauser; 2010; p.68 6. Ben Van Berkel and Caroline Bos, “Diagrams, interactive instruments in operation: the diagram as abstract machine.” Lotus international, 2006; p.113

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21. The Principals ; Cosmic Quilt – Reactive Architectural Environment 22. Scheren Regal shelving transformable to a portable side table. 23. Morgan and Marley; Unfold table; Adapts and transforms based on user’s preference.

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Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

When put in an urban perspective, the concept of Clay takes inspiration from Delirious New York where Koolhaas explains that the Manhattan Metropolitan condition emerged through mutation to form its own kind of Urbanism that supports a mutant form of human coexistence 7. The same mutation progresses in mouldable transformable cities that encourage a variety of activities to take place according to the social demands. In the current era architectural experiments and research are all focused in finding interactive customizable objects and products that allow it to change in accordance with the user. The Cosmic quilt is one such project designed by Brooklyn based designers ‘The Principals’. This quilt is woven together with a system of sensor controlled motors which enables it to spatially respond to the presence of the user. Various designers and architects have also put a start to the mouldable movement through adaptable furniture design. Designers such as Morgan and Marley and Thut Mobel have come up with innovative versatile furniture that is accustomed to change like collapsible and foldable beds, bookshelves and tables. Although this concept is still in its primitive phase and experiments are being conducted to bring to life interactive surfaces, there is hope for a new dynamic world which is very soon to be witnessed.

7. Koolhaas, Rem. “Life in the Metropolis, or the Culture of Congestion,” in Architecture Theory Since 1968, ed. K. M. Hays (Cambridge and London: The MIT Press 2000), pg. 322

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24. UN Studio; Changing Room, Amsterdam, 2008 25. Zaha Hadid; Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre, UAE; 2007 26. Reiser+Umemoto; Shenzhen Airport, China; 2008 27. dECOi Architects; One Main Street; Boston; 2008-09

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Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

Conclusion Breaking away from the established geometric form and exploiting curves has been in continuous experimental research as a solution for a sustainable utopia. Rather than remaining static, the trends in architecture should adopt a more dynamic and flexible approach, one that facilitates change. Dynamism should not only be a function of the outer but it should be the very essence of the inner. The outward change should be the outcome of an inner dynamism of varying activities and changing spatial programs. Every user has a different taste when it comes to architecture and each individual desires to customize the space he accommodates. Mouldable environments have proven to be a continuously customizable option bringing about savings in resources and cost. The symbolism of clay in refabricating architecture brings about immense possibilities and solutions and creates a socially, economically and environmentally perfect design. The result is a flawless architecture that has evolved over time in a way to best suit its environment. Gone are the days of architecture with styles, Clay brings about designs without a particular style where people design for people in creating maximum functionalist spaces.

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Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

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Clay: Architectural Futuristic Moulding

References 1. Bjarke Ingels, Yes is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution 2. Le Bergsonisme, Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam 3. Zhongjie Lin; Urban Structure for the Expanding Metropolis: Kenzo Tange’s 1960 Plan for Tokyo; Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 4. Greg Lynn; Animate Form 5. Antoine Picon; Digital Culture in Architecture; An introduction for the design professions 6. Ben Van Berkel and Caroline Bos, “Diagrams, interactive instruments in operation: the diagram as abstract machine. 7. Koolhaas, Rem. ���Life in the Metropolis, or the Culture of Congestion

Image Sources 1. http://antoniodion.blogspot.com.au/2008/04/villa-savoye-project.html 2. http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/photos.htm 3. http://pinkmanhattan.blogspot.com.au/2010/09/bauhaus-1919-1933.html 4. http://www.archdaily.com/13358/the-therme-vals/ 5. http://observer.com/2012/03/good-house-keeping-hearst-tower-achieves-highest-green-buildingrating-leed-platinum/hearst-tower-norman-foster/ 6. http://www.stevenholl.com/project-detail.php?type=museums&id=19&page=0 7. http://daniel-libeskind.com/projects/royal-ontario-museum/images 8. http://milimet.com/2010/01/4x4-house-by-tadao-ando.html 10. http://www.studiotoggle.com/2011/09/de_canyon/ 11. http://andbug.blogspot.com.au/2009/02/surface-tessellation-02.html 12. http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/9/view/9207/musgum-clay-houses.html 13. http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/world-heritage/pueblo-de-taos/ 14. http://www.flickr.com/photos/72213316@N00/3252538922 15. http://ameliagroom.com/?p=368 16. http://www.archdaily.com/110745/ad-classics-nakagin-capsule-tower-kisho-kurokawa/naka11/ 17. http://architecturalmoleskine.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/metabolist-movement.html 18. http://www.hyposurface.org/ 19. http://www.impactlab.net/2011/01/23/blobitecture-%E2%80%93-the-rise-of-organic-architecture/ 20. http://www.worldpicturejournal.com/WP_5/Johung.html 21. http://www.evolo.us/architecture/cosmic-quilt-reactive-architectural-environment-theprincipals/#more-18231 22. http://mocoloco.com/archives/000186.php 23. http://www.pleatfarm.com/2010/10/26/morgan-and-marley/ 24. http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/9/view/3746/venice-architecture-biennale-08-previewunstudio.html 25. http://www.zaha-hadid.com/architecture/abu-dhabi-performing-arts-centre/ 26. http://www.e-architect.co.uk/architects/rur_architecture.htm 27. http://www.decoi-architects.org/

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“What if people had the ability to mould their own built environment? Would it not create a world of immense possibilities?�

Clay is a manifesto that discusses the mouldable dream of the future buildiings and cities. It looks into the history of architecture and analyses how this dream was pursued until the current age. The author believes that there should be a paradigm shift in the way we view structures. Instead of rigid surfaces the vision should be to take a turn towards a mouldable era where every person has the freedom to move and craft spaces flexibly to create a perfectly adaptable environment.


Clay-Architectural futuristic moulding