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Encyclopedia > Blobitecture
Future Systems' blobitecture design for the 2003 Selfridges department store, was intended to evoke the female sillouette and a famous "chainmail" dress designed by Paco Rabanne in the 1960s. Its landmark qualities were expected to rejuvenate the Birmingham city centre.
Future Systems' blobitecture design for the 2003 Selfridges department store, was intended to evoke the female sillouette and a famous "chainmail" dress designed by Paco Rabanne in the 1960s. Its landmark qualities were expected to rejuvenate the Birmingham city centre.

Blobitecture from blob architecture, blobism or blobismus are terms for a current movement in architecture in which buildings have an organic, amoeba-shaped, bulging form.[1] Though the term 'blob architecture' was in vogue already in the mid-1990s, the word blobitecture first appeared in print in 2002, in William Safire's "On Language" column in the New York Times Magazine in an article entitled Defenestration.[2] Though intended in the article to have a derogatory meaning, the word stuck and is often used to describe buildings with curved and rounded shapes. Download high resolution version (500x646, 158 KB)Birminghams iconic new Selfridges building, opened in 2003 a part of the new Bull Ring shopping centre in the city centre. ... Download high resolution version (500x646, 158 KB)Birminghams iconic new Selfridges building, opened in 2003 a part of the new Bull Ring shopping centre in the city centre. ... The Media Centre at Lords Cricket Ground Selfridges in Birmingham Birmingham Selfridges Exterior Detail Birmingham Selfridges Interior Future Systems is a London-based architectural and design practice, headed by the couple, Jan Kaplický and Amanda Levete. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Selfridges in Birmingham. ... Paco Rabanne, originally Francisco Rabanedacuervo, is a fashion designer who was born on 18 February 1934 in Saint Sebastian of the Basque Country of Spain. ... This article is about the British city. ... This article is about building architecture. ... For other uses, see Amoeba (disambiguation). ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... William L. Safire (born December 17, 1929) is an American author, semi-retired columnist, and former journalist and presidential speechwriter. ...

Contents

Origins of the term "blob architecture"

The term 'blob architecture' was coined by architect Greg Lynn in 1995 in his experiments in digital design with metaball graphical software. Soon a range of architects and furniture designers began to experiment with this "blobby" software to create new and unusual forms. Despite its seeming organicism, blob architecture is unthinkable without this and other similar computer-aided design programs. Architects derive the forms by manipulating the algorithms of the computer modeling platform. Some other computer aided design functions involved in developing this are the nonuniform rational B-spline or NURB, freeform surfaces, and the digitizing of sculpted forms by means akin to computed tomography.[3] Greg Lynn (born 1964) is an American architect, philosopher, and science-fiction writer who advocates increased used of computer-aided design to produce irregular, biomorphic architectural forms. ... Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full 1995 Gregorian calendar). ... Two metaballs Metaballs is the name of a computer graphics technique for rendering organic-looking n-dimensional objects and was invented by Jim Blinn in the early 1980s. ... CADD and CAD redirect here. ... This article is about computer-aided design. ... A NURBS curve being created in NX Shape Studio. ... Freeform surface, or Freeform Surfacing used in CAD and other computer graphics software are used to describe the skin of a 3D geometric element. ... It has been suggested that Synchrotron X-ray tomographic microscopy, X-ray tomography be merged into this article or section. ...


Precedents

One precedent is Archigram, a group of English architects working in the 1960s, to which Peter Cook belonged. They were interested in inflatable architecture as well as in the shapes that could be generated from plastic. Ron Herron, also member of Archigram created blob-like architecture in his projects from the 1960s, such as Walking Cities and Instant City, as did Michael Webb with Sin Centre.[4] There was a climate of experimental architecture with an air of psychedelia in the 1970s that these were a part of. Frederick Kiesler's unbuilt, Endless House is another instance of early blob-like architecture, although it is symmetrical in plan and designed before computers; his design for the Shrine of the Book (construction begun, 1965) which has the characteristic droplet form of fluid also anticipates forms that interest architects today. Archigram was an avant-garde architectural group formed in the 1960s and based at the Architectural Association, London that was futurist, anti-heroic and pro-consumerist, drawing inspiration from technology in order to create a new reality that was solely expressed through hypothetical projects. ... Archigram was an avant-garde architectural group formed in the 1960s and based at the Architectural Association, London that was futurist, anti-heroic and pro-consumerist, drawing inspiration from technology in order to create a new reality that was solely expressed through hypothetical projects. ... The Walking City was an idea proposed by British architect Ron Herron in 1964. ... Frederick Kiesler (Born 1890 Vienna- 1965 New York) was an architect and artist. ... Exterior view of the Shrine of the Book Entrance to the Shrine of the Book The Shrine of the Book is built to symbolized the scroll of the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness - The shrine is built as a white dome symbolizing the Sons...


Also to be considered, if one views blob architecture from the question of form rather than technology, are the organic designs of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona and of the Expressionists like Bruno Taut and Hermann Finsterlin. Antoni Gaud i Cornet (more widely known in the English speaking world under the Spanish version of his first name, as Antonio Gaud , or, just simply, Gaudi), (25 June 1852–10 June 1926) was a Catalan architect famous for his unique designs expressing sculptural and individualistic qualities. ... The Scream by Edvard Munch (1893) which inspired 20th century Expressionists Portrait of Eduard Kosmack by Egon Schiele Rehe im Walde by Franz Marc Elbe Bridge I by Rolf Nesch On White II by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923. ... Bruno Julius Florian Taut (May 4, 1880, Konigsberg, Germany - December 24, 1938, Istanbul), was a prolific German architect, urban planner and author active in the Weimar period. ... Hermann Finsterlin (born August 18 1887 in München, died September 16 1973 in Stuttgart) was a visionary architect, painter, poet, essayist, toymaker and composer. ...


Built Examples

The water pavilion from 1997 by NOX/Lars Spuybroek in the Netherlands.
The water pavilion from 1997 by NOX/Lars Spuybroek in the Netherlands.

Despite the narrow interpretation of Blob architecture (i.e. that coming from the computer), the word, especially in popular parlance, has come to be associated quite widely with a range of curved or odd-looking buildings including Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (1997) and the Experience Music Project (2000), though these, in the narrower sense are not blob buildings, even though they were designed by advanced computer-aided design tools, CATIA in particular.[5] The reason for this is that they were designed from physical models rather than from computer manipulations. The first full blob building however was build in the Netherlands by Lars Spuybroek (NOX) and Kas Oosterhuis. Called the water pavilion (1993-1997) it does not only have a fully computer-based shape manufactured with computer-aided tools but also has an electronic interactive interior where sound and light can be transformed by the visitor. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... HtwoOexpo, the water pavilion by NOX/Lars Spuybroek. ... Photograph by Keith Edkins, September 2004. ... Photograph by Keith Edkins, September 2004. ... The Sage viewed from central Newcastle The Sage Gateshead is a centre for musical education and performance, located in Gateshead on the south bank of the River Tyne, in the north-east of England. ... The restored Reichstag in Berlin, housing the German parliament. ... Frank Owen Gehry (born Ephraim Owen Goldberg, February 28, 1929) is a Pritzker Prize winning architect based in Los Angeles, California. ... The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, along the Nervión River in downtown Bilbao, with the Maman, a huge spider by Louise Bourgeois The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain, which is made of glass, titanium, and limestone. ... View of the EMP from the Seattle Center with the monorail traveling through it. ... Look up CATIA in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... HtwoOexpo, the water pavilion by NOX/Lars Spuybroek. ...


A building that also can be considered an example of a blob is Peter Cook and Colin Fournier's Kunsthaus (2003) in Graz, Austria. Other instances are Roy Mason's Xanadu House (1979) the buildings of organicist Bart Prince and a rare excursion into the field by Herzog & de Meuron in their Allianz Arena (2005). By 2005, Norman Foster had involved himself in blobitecture to some extent as well with his brain-shaped design for the Philological Library at the Free University of Berlin and the Sage Gateshead opened in 2004. Peter Cook (born in 1936 in Southend, Essex) is a notable English architect, teacher and writer about architecture. ... Colin Fournier, co-architect with Peter Cook of the Kunsthaus Graz, current professor of The Bartlett School of Architecture, a part of University College London. ... The Kunsthaus Graz at night showing the BIX media Façade The Kunsthaus Graz, Grazer Kunsthaus, or Graz Art Museum was built as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2003 and has since become an architectural landmark in Graz, Austria. ... The Grazer Schloßberg Clock Tower Graz [graːts] (Slovenian: Gradec IPA: /gra. ... Roy Mason with a model of the Xanadu home Roy Mason (birth date unknown - 1996) was a lecturer, writer and futuristic architect who designed and built a variety of futuristic homes and other buildings in the 1970s and 1980s using low cost materials and alternative energy sources. ... The exterior of the Xanadu House in Kissimmee, Florida in 1994 The Xanadu Houses were a series of experimental homes built to showcase examples of computers and automation in the home in the United States. ... Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright Organic architecture is a philosophy of architecture which promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world through design approaches so sympathetic and well integrated with its site that buildings, furnishings, and surroundings become part of a unified, interrelated composition. ... Allianz Arena in Munich. ... Allianz Arena The Allianz Arena is a football stadium located in the north-Munich district of Fröttmaning. ... The restored Reichstag in Berlin, housing the German parliament. ... Exterior of the Philological Library The Philological Library is the newest component of the campus of the Free University of Berlin. ... Satellite photo of Berlin. ... The Sage viewed from central Newcastle The Sage Gateshead is a centre for musical education and performance, located in Gateshead on the south bank of the River Tyne, in the north-east of England. ...

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, along the Nervión River in downtown Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, along the Nervión River in downtown Bilbao


Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1200x608, 157 KB)Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1200x608, 157 KB)Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. ... The river Nervión runs through the city of Bilbao, Spain into the Bay of Biscay. ... La Muy Noble y Muy Leal e Invicta (The most noble and most loyal and undefeated) Location Location of Bilbao in Spain and Biscay Coordinates : 43,15° n. ...


Gallery

References

  1. ^ Curl, James Stevens [2006]. A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (Paperback), Second (in English), Oxford University Press, 880 pages. ISBN 0198606788. 
  2. ^ Safire, Wiliam. The New York Times: On Language. Defenestration. December 1 2002.
  3. ^ John K. Waters, Blobitecture: Waveform Architecture and Digital Design(Rockport, 2003).
  4. ^ Archigram, Peter Cook, editor (Princeton Architectural Press, 1999).
  5. ^ For a discussion see: Waters, John K. Ibid.

Sources

  • Lynn, Greg. Folds, Bodies & Blobs : Collected Essays. La Lettre volée, 1998. ISBN
  • Muschamp, Herbert. The New York Times, Architecture's Claim on the Future: The Blob. July 23, 2000.
  • Safire, Wiliam. The New York Times: On Language. Defenestration. December 1 2002.
  • Waters, John K. Blobitecture: Waveform Architecture and Digital Design. Rockport Publishers, 2003. ISBN
  • Margaret Wertheim (Mar 13, 2004). Prototype shows that buildings may someday be constructed by robots 2. Oakland Tribune (orig. NEW YORK TIMES).

  Results from FactBites:
 
World Wide Words: Blobitecture (295 words)
Blobitecture is curvy architecture, fluid protoplasmic shapes that completely redefine what a building ought to look like.
Everywhere it is mildly pejorative, but in Britain it is further coloured by mental associations with an excessively rotund and very silly pink character with yellow spots called Mr Blobby, who became famous in the early 1990s in Noel Edmonds’ Saturday night BBC television show Noel’s House Party.
In large part, blobitecture derives its forms from an architect’s interpretation of natural organic forms, but also depends on the advanced use of computer modeling to ensure that the evolving design is structurally stable.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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