Blob architecture

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Kunsthaus Graz (2003), architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier
Selfridges Birmingham Department Store (2003), architect Jan Kaplicky

As blob architecture , non-standard architecture or freeform architectural buildings and designs are referred to the complex, flowing, often rounded and biomorphic have shapes on freeform curves ( splines based), and were possible only by modern design software for architects.

Development of style

The blob architecture emerged in the 1990s when the use of splines (usually NURB splines ) as curves, surfaces or primitives with fixed topological relationships became established in CAD software . Tools were now available that simulated forces as natural phenomena and made it possible to depict continuous, unevenly concave, convex and, as a composite, mixed form of partly edged surfaces.

One can see this current as a variant of organic building , in contrast to its postmodern tendencies, blob architecture is obliged to classical modernism insofar as it meets their demand for simple geometric bodies without unnecessary ornamentation that conceals the basic structure - it only has the term of the "simple": in fact, the NURBs belong to the basic form elements in the sense of vector graphics . It is characteristic that basic symmetries are maintained despite the complex surfaces, while organic architecture can also become completely asymmetrical. They both share the will for independent sculptural form, which comes from Expressionism and is differentiated from the form-follows-function concept of objective modernity.

Blob structures attract a lot of attention and are very difficult to integrate into the urban environment. Blob buildings are therefore particularly suitable , often as solitaires , for representative and unique forms of use, such as museums, event halls, particularly prestigious company headquarters or factory buildings.

Critics of the blob architecture see the danger that naive enthusiasm for the new design possibilities leads to projects that have no relation to actually available materials and production processes or whose interiors do not meet the demands of use and the high expectations aroused by the outer skin. The Blob architects are also accused of not offering any architectural-philosophical justification for their designs.

In addition, the execution of blob projects is technically very demanding, since the complex shapes do not allow the use of prefabricated parts, or only to a very limited extent. The further development of the CAM (computer-aided production) up to the so-called file-to-factory production, in which the geometry data expanded by so-called technology data generated by the design software and sensibly in a system of the continuous product data model, is very promising for the production of geometrically complex, individual components are passed on to the machines of the production facility.

Well-known blob-inspired buildings are z. B.


See also


  • Greg Lynn: Folds, Bodies & Blobs. Collected essays. La Lettre Volee, Brussels 1998, ISBN 2-87317-068-9 .

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