Architecture appeals to countless people, for all kinds of reasons. It’s raw inspiration, a physical manifestation of creative vision and innovation. It can be subtle and understated, grandiose and bold. It can speak volumes about a society, about a time and place, or the people which inhabit it.
The Big Bend
One recently emerging design which has received a lot of media attention is the proposal for the ‘Big Bend’, a towering structure which would become a defining feature of the Manhattan skyline in New York City.
The deceptively simple but strikingly unique concept for this building would make it the longest structure of its kind. The construction would see a narrow, but tall, tower rise up on one side of a historic building, bend over in a full ‘u’ shape, then descend vertically back down, forming a giant horseshoe.
The main concept behind the proposal by architectural firm Oiio, is to draw attention to and highlight the race for height in Manhattan properties.
The 4000 ft structure would be a visual reminder and statement about a city, which currently features buildings which architect Steven Holl described as ‘...inequality in architectural form’. Manhattan zoning laws mean that there is a drive to build ‘up’ in order to boost value.
By bending the structure itself, rather than zoning laws of the city, Oiio aim to remind us of the competitive and financially motivated beast the world of modern architecture can become.
For a taste of the truly elaborate and futuristic, one need look no further than New-York based (and aptly named) Clouds Architecture Office for ‘Analemma Tower’.
This unbelievable proposal features a skyscraper which turns preconceived notions of construction quite literally on their head, as it dangles, vertically, from a cable attached to an orbiting asteroid.
The hyper-expensive design would cater to those with a penchant for the extreme height of much modern architecture, while simultaneously offering seclusion and constant mobility - as the asteroid the tower hangs from traverses the planet in a figure-of-eight movement.
Solar panels attached to the top of the structure - which would be suspended 32,000m above the Earth - would power the gigantic building, as it made it’s titanic journey around the world.
These designs might seem almost comically grandiose, but with NASA set to embark on a mission to capture and relocate an asteroid in just 4 years time, there may be some gravity to this idea. Could the future of design lie in the skies?
For a source of architectural inspiration which is more firmly rooted on Earth, Daniel Libeskind’s upcoming ‘Occitanie Tower’ offers a glimpse into the eco-focussed future of modern design.
Construction on the tower, which will be set alongside the canal in Toulouse, France, is due to begin in 2018, and completed in 2022. We won’t have long to wait before this beautiful design becomes a defining feature of modern construction.
The stunning blueprints for this skyscraper feature a tall, spiralling glazed corkscrew shape, with picturesque gardens spinning up between the folds in a ribbon of fauna.
As the seasons change, the green spiral of this tower will shift to deep browns and reds, and will take on entirely new qualities as the year goes by. This immeasurably appealing feature, designed in collaboration with Paris-based landscape architect Nicolas Gilsoul will be set into glazing which will reflect the gentle pink hues of Toulouse’s city lights.
Designs like this are a good indicator of how architecture is moving to reflect a world which is more concerned than ever with mankind’s impact on nature. By incorporating elegant yet modern materials alongside trees and other fauna, designs like this serve to remind us of our link with nature, and help us to appreciate just how much we owe to the natural world.
Another design in this vein, and arguably the most beautiful of all those we have listed here, is Australian-based DeciBel’s ‘Hanoi Lotus’.
This multifunctional cultural centre will bring facilities for staples of modern civilisation to Hanoi in Vietnam, including a 2000 seater theatre and performance space, cinema, offices for start-ups and restaurants.
It’s not the functionality of this proposal which makes it so special though, it’s the design. Taking inspiration from the national flower of Vietnam, the delicate lotus, this wondrous construction would serve as a visually captivating blend of glass, metal and creativity.
6 enormous bulb-like structures would combine to form an enormous and artistic representation of the flower. A large central ‘tuber’ construction, surrounded by 5 peripheral smaller tubers will sit on a platform amongst parkland and ponds. Visitors to the capital will be greeted by this striking installation, which will serve as a cornerstone of the developing cultural scene.
Giant glass petals. Elegant use of light and colour. Cultural functionality. It’s hard to fault this utterly magnificent design.