Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Graffiti Architecture

Graffiti is often regarded as an act of vandalism... but how can you frown upon such an artistic display that can produce magnificent architecture as shown above?

This is the first condominium designed by Herzog & de Meuron in the US. And what a piece of architecture it is. The cast aluminum gate is inspired from graffiti that New York is famous for. It's carried through the interior of the building suggesting a "random, haphazard, and variegated vernacular of the downtown New York streetscape". More details can be found here and here.

I can't help but notice the presence of graffiti in some of their other notable projects. Perhaps most clearly in their Flamenco cultural center in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.

In this project, the Gypsy tradition of the Flamenco, Arabic Calligraphy and New York Street Culture Graffiti tags come together to form the pattern of the facade screen as represented in the below diagrams.

Another project comes to mind is the Cottbus University Library in Germany shown below. The glazed facade on this building is animated by texts in different languages and alphabets that have been superimposed in so many layers that they are no longer legible, but still appears as an unmistakable pattern of written signs.

Although there are other projects with similar facade patterns, they are not necessarily "graffiti inspired". An example of that is Tree Village Campus in Beijing, China. The idea behind the project is to develop a pattern specifically for this project which is used at multiple scales; from the master plan to the floor tiles. The pattern is derived from superimposing grids of streets which then appear as tree structures when seen at a facade scale.

The above project is the National Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing too. The pattern here is made up of structural elements supporting each other. The result is that the facade appears as a bird's nest or a tree and its roots. It is also a mechanism to achieve sustainable design allowing natural ventilation for the stadium.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is an extremely interesting post, I found it particularly useful and relevant for my personal interests in architecture.

Glad I stumbled across it.