Saturday, May 31, 2014

Craft of Construction and Materials!

Clothes, Cladding, Facades 
Designing a building is a complex process and involves various steps as well as many variables. I will not bore you with the steps but want to talk about the decisions involved in designing a facade or skin (exterior surface) of a building.

 It is one of the most important and exciting element of any building as it encloses space and structure of a building,giving shape/form to the building, the way the skin does to a human body or clothes fitting to a body and it can extend it to an urban level, the way exterior building surfaces do to streets. The overall form and details of the facade gives character to the building. One can not measure the functionality of the building by the appearance or materials of the exterior surface, but it surely does have a visual impact on pedestrians or drivers and now, on the web-surfers, who are on Google Earth view. They help creating even walkable, pleasant interesting streets.
Here, I am posting few photos of buildings reflecting these three things noted below. Each one has a unique story to tell.
Sizes, locations and layout of Fenestration/Openings
Materials Used
Craft & Construction techniques
The facades are capable to tell stories and reflect history.

The facade shows the construction technique by use of the materials and the openings of windows and doors. occupants or branding of the company or the history of the Materials used for clothes, construction techniques or styles and the cuts and holes at different places
Wood Paneling, Stone Veneer, Stucco, Concrete, Stones and Bricks, Metals
The Materials are of cotton, silk, polyester, nylon etc. The craft, and using materials to its which ultimately gives the building its character.
The Photo below is a part of  the Marunouchi side facade of Tokyo Train Station, which is a major commuter hub and historical building. It is restored recently made up of red-brick and stone facade.
The use of stones as window sill as well as around the windows protect windows from weather and gives the classic appearance to the building. The facade is created with the repeat of this form, as you can see in the photo below.
Repeatation of Windows, Stone sill and overhang protecting windows from rain and sun- Photo- Tokyo Railway Building- cerdit- Neela Shukla.
Tokyo Train Station - credit-
Also, the use of bricks as structural elements reflect time, which was built in 1914. It was damaged in world war and restored to its glory . Interior walls show the marks of bullets reflecting  history. The space is used as a tourist center where every visitor stops by to pick up maps and brochures and gets personal assistance and information to travel outside Tokyo. On my trip to this place, I stopped for few moments to admire the space.
Tokyo Olde Railway Station- Photo Credit- Neela Shukla
The photos below on the left is enlarged to show the marks of aging on the brick wall, while on the right side, the interior walls of a restaurant show new construction and bricks used as cladding. They are on the wall surface as decoration.

Bricks as part of structure and Bricks as Cladding- Photo Credit- Neela Shukla
Dior Store- The facade of Dior Store looks like Mohair Knit, airy, light and soft fabric.  It was achieved by layering line-patterned glasses and dot-patterned sheets of thin metal membrane over it. Both the patterns express brand's original CHANGE. Layering totally different patterns creates a mysterious effect of moirĂ©. This was designed by Japanese Female architect Inui Kumiko.  The facade is a result of the construction of  skin representing brand of the company. See three photos below.

Dior Store - PhotoCredit- Neela Shukla

The facade pattern
 Facade Details-

My Favorite building is of Miki Moto's retail store, who is Japanese Jewelry Designer and uses cultured pearls in jewelery. The building is  pale pink colored,  9 story,  stretching high into Tokyo skyline with scattered asymmetrical glass windows, definitely makes you look up.
It is designed by renowned architect Toyo Ito on the concept of evoking the feelings people have when opening jewelry box. Here the description, I took it from MoriMoto's website-
"Renowned architect Toyo Ito, who was commissioned to design the building, built Ginza 2 around the concept of “bubbles forming out of a shell fostering a pearl, flower petals fluttering down, and a sense of expectation and mystique when looking into a jewellery box."

Also, the concept is not only about creating facade to represent brand, but sophisticated construction technique is used to create this building with clear, column-free space.  The load bearing walls are made up of two 12mm thick metal plates; with cut out openings, creating simple, plain exterior surface. Look at the photos below of the building and the during construction.
MikiMoto Tower - Ginza 2 Tokyo, Japan photo credit-   Neela Shukla
 Construction Technique and Materials, Craftsmanship

photo credit-
Here Toyo Ito's words in one interview-

"Actually, the sense and meaning of technology in my works is changing. In the past the technology was highly visible. It was presented in a visible way. Now it is different. Technology is now something I hide, you have to look for it, you don’t see it, you can't see it. It is an element to be used and exploited in an indirect way. Before, I used to envision an architecture that nobody could touch, impossible to grasp and hold. Now, again, it is different. Now, I want to do an architecture that you can touch and feel. Now I am working on the physical reality, on the object, on the real. This interests me now."

Just a quote-
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society - Mark Twain

The combinations of all these facades lined up together makes the street. The variations on the facades in the street makes the street live, pleasant and walkable. All the same criteria of design applies to it, repeat of forms, geometrical patterns, organic patterns, colors, textures etc make the streets lively and interesting.
In the video below, you can see how Toyo Ito was exploring the ideas while designing Miki Moto Ginza2 tower.

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