Indigenous architecture

Some of the best and simplest examples of this process-oriented approach can be seen in indigenous vernacular buildings. Most are as striking as any natural form and are not only remarkable structures demonstrating a complete understanding of the (usually) limited materials used but are also ingenious low-energy passive environmental solutions and rich in cultural significance. This architecture can be thought of as a real extension of nature and its lineage can be traced from primitive times...

Design philosophy

Richard Horden believes 'Engineering without people is pointless, it only works if it is in some way useful.'1 Although many associate Richard Horden with cutting-edge technology, he emphasizes that it is not the desire to utilize new technology that initiates the design process. He does not seek innovation for its own sake. His projects are informed more by an awareness of human reaction than by technology. They are born of a sincere consideration not only of adult sensibilities but also of...

Australian perspective

Australian building technology does not generally experience innovation in the same manner as the advances in materials and assembly techniques seen in European countries. Despite cultural similarities, Australian technology caters to a smaller domestic market, lower levels of investment and government incentives for innovation, and a background of exporting primary products with 'value adding' carried out elsewhere. For example, zinc mined in Australia is sent to Germany, where Rhinezinc...

The evolution of the glasshouse

In seeking to communicate how this environmentally responsive, process-driven design method can be demonstrated in physical form I have found that the development of glasshouse design proves to be a very succinct example of how building forms respond to the natural world. They have very simple criteria to maximize solar light and heat gain and minimize heat loss. The question is how far can the building form assist towards maximizing free energy. A unit of measure should be established to...

Summary

For me these principles extend beyond what we would term the 'natural' world and into the 'manmade'. The principles that govern how a termite or weaverbird builds its nest, using the resources it has available in the most efficient manner, with little or no waste, whilst harnessing what free energy is available, extends into indigenous vernacular architecture. The supreme elegance and efficiency of an Inuit igloo is a benchmark of appropriateness. Computational Fluid Dynamics studies carried...

Nature as model and mentor

We spent many days poring over past studies of minimal structures and began turning again to the book of nature for answers. Perhaps the two most important observations of natural systems to influence us were how nature's designs are so elegant yet so sparing and that in nature most solutions fulfill more than function. From the outset of the project we had wanted to ensure that the architecture would contribute to the Eden Project story it should be more than a container into which exhibits...

The Eden Project

After Waterloo was completed it struck me that in any architectural office there would be very few comparable projects. At precisely this time a chap called Tim Smit walked into our office and presented us with his dream of creating the largest glasshouse the world has ever seen. What initially looked like a pipe dream began to look more and more like a viable project. Tim had the passion, commitment and energy to make things happen. He had an uncanny ability to rally people to the cause and if...

Mark Lovell Mark Lovell Design Engineers

5.1 Radiant House, Energy World Exhibition, Milton Keynes, 1994 cross-section (architect Richard Weston) 5.1 Radiant House, Energy World Exhibition, Milton Keynes, 1994 cross-section (architect Richard Weston) Mankind, from the beginning of time, has developed ses and applications for all materials as they have become available. Intrinsically the creativity of the human brain has always striven to extract the maximum benefit from any resource. The extreme pressure to survive would have been a...

The incredible lightness of being

Chris Wilkinson, Wilkinson Eyre Architects 13.1 Dyson Headquarters, Malmesbury, 1999 entry to the building is via a glass bridge over a purple pool that reflects light onto a fabric canopy overhead architect Wilkinson Eyre Architects 13.1 Dyson Headquarters, Malmesbury, 1999 entry to the building is via a glass bridge over a purple pool that reflects light onto a fabric canopy overhead architect Wilkinson Eyre Architects Lightness is not a technical term and cannot be measured in a finite way....

Mike Davies Richard Rogers Partnership

If you are innovating, you are dealing with new concepts, ideas and techniques. As an architect you are honour-bound to your client to understand the new and its implications, to do your homework and prepare as well as possible if you intend to question the rules and move architecture forward in some way. Where innovation in architecture occurs there is an implicit requirement for the architect to resort to experimentation, dedicated shepherding, continuous love and care, testing, mocking-up...

Glasgow Wing Tower

Wing Profile Wind Tunnel Tests

Horden believes that 'One of the essential functions of architecture is to lift the human spirit.'2 The Wing Tower was the winning and highly innovative design for an international competition for a Tower for Glasgow in 1993. Following Horden's typically humanist approach, the project was driven by a consideration of the needs of the people of Glasgow. The tower originated from an idea for a powerful symbol to inspire young people and the design was informed by Glasgow's shift away from heavy...

David Marks and Julia Barfield Marks Barfield Architects Written by Dominique Poole

Innovative architecture is now recognized as a powerful catalyst for economic regeneration and revival of our towns and cities. Imbued with visual and aesthetic appeal, it can provide an iconic and symbolic role, attracting vast numbers of visitors, underpinning tourism, and becoming so familiar that it is recognized around the world as a symbol of a particular place. When allied to an inspiring concept and supported by a strong business case, innovative architecture can provide a tremendous...