BLObitecture – the free-flowing, soft, and organic form of architecture devised using 3D modeling software and a bucket full of imagination.
The term was coined by American-born architect Greg Lynn in 1995 during one of his software-involved experiments. The term BLOB modeling was a module in wavefront software at that time and blob was the acronym used for Binary Large Object-spheres that can be collected to form large composite forms. The term came into the limelight after being used as a derogatory remark by William Safire in The New York Times article in 2002.
The creative imagination and 3D modeling alone cannot pull the cart of building making, the evolution of materials and technological advancement in the field of architectural design is equally responsible for the hands-on experience of such architectural marvels. The majorly designed blobitecture spaces include auditoriums, performing arts theaters, museums, and other cultural spaces where steel and glass can be used as major construction materials which is not the case in residential or other personal spaces considering the intrusion in the privacy of the dwellers. The efficacy of these materials backs up the smooth construction process and results in an ostentatious built form.
FIVE OF THE MANY BLOBITECTURE MARVELS
1. SAGE GATESHEAD,UK
Sage Gateshead is a fine example of blobitecture and a concert venue located in Gateshead on the south of river Tyne in north east England. Since opening in 2004 it is handled by North Music Trust and provides music education to enthusiasts. The grand performing space is designed by Foster and partners incorporating steel and glass as the major construction material. A unique spongy concrete is utilized for construction with higher than usual air capacity to enhance the acoustic properties of the space which stands as the mandatory feature for any such built form. A steel glass organic exoskeleton holds within three separate performing halls with varying capacities.
2. KUNSTHAUS GRAZ,AUSTRIA
This innovative and provocative design by Colin Fournier in partnership with Sir Peter Cook has graced the cultural capital of Europe – Austria since 2003 with its blobitecture. It is referred to as a Friendly Alien considering its contrasting design with the surroundings. The outer skin is designed with iridescent blue acrylic panels that also double as photovoltaic cells. It is one of its kind looking at the fusion of architecture and media happening on the eastern facade with 930 fluorescent lamps embedded in an acrylic glass skin illuminating the facade and also acting as a display for animations and films.
3. METROPOL PARASOL,SPAIN
This mushroom resembling structure was built in 2011 by J Mayer H Architects in the city of Seville, Spain. It is known as Las Setas De La Encarnacion in Spanish which means incarnation of mushroom. This 26m high blobitecture structure is the largest timber construction in the world consisting of six parasols that are inspired by the Ficus trees in the nearby plaza and the vaults in the neighboring cathedral as shared by J Meyer.
The construction technique is unique as it incorporates a special glue bonding technology that holds all the joints by a special glue discovered before the construction of the building. It acts as a focal point for the city and also entertains the visitors with the aerial view of the city from the terrace level.
4. SELFRIDGES BUILDING,UK
A part of the Bullring shopping center and housing the Selfridges department store, the Selfridges building was completed in 2003 by Future Systems acting as a catalyst for the urban regeneration of Birmingham city. With the steel framework, sprayed concrete blue façade, and 15,000 anodized aluminum discs mounted on the façade it acts as an iconic blobitecture landmark of the city. The skin of the structure symbolizes the scales of a snake and shimmers in sunlight reflecting minute weather changes.
5. MUSEO SOUMAYA,MEXICO
Museo Soumya, a 46m tall blobitecture building designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero and engineered by Ove Arup and Frank Gehry, is a private museum in Mexico city named after the founder’s wife Soumaya Domit house a private art collection of nearly 70,000 artworks. It opened in 2011 and since then has been the focal point of the plaza carso. Similar to other Gehry’s masterpieces, this one was also influenced by his love for metal and cladded with 16,000 hexagonal aluminum tiles. This rotated rhomboid structure is a six-story building held by an exoskeleton of 28 vertical curved steel columns connected by seven circular rings in which each floor is uniquely shaped.
Image Credits : To the respective owners