2014-03-16

What Can Architecture Do To The World? 20 things that architecture can do to the world.


1. Architecture Interprets.
Out of the magnificent spirit of place at Cameron Highland, a bus stop built with tangible wood and grows with creepers interprets the fresh atmosphere and the beautiful mother nature. It appears to sit lightly on earth, informing user the rawness of site and the green, authentic atmosphere of the place. One can hear the crunching sound of the dried leaves that fall when wind blows, smell the fragrance of flower after the rain has stopped, feel the moisture on the surface of wood when one touches it, and that architecture of bus stop continues it.




2. Architecture makes one Wonders.
Out of a calm lake, stands one giant skeletal structure, it imitates a huge fish bone, some call it a dinosaur bones. They can get to cross the lake through it, as it is one poetic footbridge. When one gets closer, it is inspiring, just like walking underneath a giant skeleton of dinosaur in the museum. All of a sudden, the skeletal wings spread apart to shade, strips of shadow pattern fall on the floor and the bridge is now partially shaded from the hot sunlight, opened air. The bone is just amazing, the journey of walking across the lake can be so inspiring after all.




3. Architecture Inspires.
Walking up from a retreat house, one finds the surrounding a surreal kind, everywhere is surrounded by smooth threshold, they are all in white, there is barely a right angle corner in the house, but all round, curvy and in smooth, organic forms, just like exactly the human body. It is so inspiring that it touches deep to human soul, a house can be such awkward in shapes, organic and almost seducing, one feels like to get a touch on the wall, the pillars, and almost everything is slanting, in a non-fixed form, a dancing body liked. It imitates the beauty of human figure. The house has soul. It then has a gallery that curves all the way up to the roof level. Follows the gallery, and one will reach its end which is the grass roof with scenic view. There, several steel structure emerge from ground, slanting and they are in different length. Such surreal environment would really gives one a getaway, like of what art can usually does.




4. Architecture Connects.
In the city, buildings do not talk to each other any more, it is so awful to stay in between them. But as he walks through a city exhibition, it opens up to several obvious paths, it is just like a building being sliced and opened all the way up to the sky, while being inside of it is just like walking inside a canyon. It leads to different destinations and it appears to be pointing towards them, leading one to walk through it. By following the path to the left, one would reach a famous market. Follow the path to the right, one would reach the renowned heritage site. Follow the path backwards, it leads one back to the bus station. The building is unselfish after all! It becomes a huge interchange, connecting interesting spot in the city, while its upper floor is a city gallery, documenting interesting history around the site. 




5. Architecture gives Well-being.
In the housing neighbourhood, there is a favourite community library he would go during every weekend. He does not even like to sit in an air-conditioned office room for the entire weekday, and he does not like the busy city filled with fumes and noises, but in contrast, the library has all he needs. The way the room and roof were angled, the interior spaces is shaded from the hot sunlight, when one read in the reading area, it is a partially shared spaces with a degree of privacy, yet connected to the whole volume, and the sound of water flowing and dripping further soothing the atmosphere, as it seems to cancelled the slight noises from activities in the library. It is naturally ventilated with adjustable, small window panels everywhere. He even got his own table lamp, power point at his reading spaces, the atmosphere is healthy.




6. Architecture Navigates.
Outs of the  concrete jungle, particularly at night, one needs to find his way back to the house of his friend. And all of a sudden, there were this 3 blocks of apartment that glow in 3 different colours, red, green and blue. He knew that the house is somewhere in the middle of the red and the blue, that is the way Architecture brings him his way back home.




7. Architecture Landmarks
The travelling time is 3 hours for one to get to the retreat park. There is no more than freeway structures, cars and forest all along the journey. It was already late and his mother would call him up to make sure everything is all right. Then, he knew that he is going to reach his destination, and it was this giant eye that emerged out of the forest, by the time, he knew exactly where he is, looking at the designed free-way structure that does not look quite like the others at that kind of location. He quickly informed his mother about his location on the eye of the green. Everyone knows it, just like the Eiffel Tower in smaller scale, a Penang bridge kind of scale that one would easily gasped once they reach it and know where exactly they are.  




8. Architecture Accesses
The suburbs were sprawling, but the facilities to the people are not. Children could hardly get to one library to read the book they enjoyed. But today, they can, but not anymore at the library, they would go to the bus stop in front of their neighbour to read. That bus stop has a small glass cube attached to it, instant book machine and some refreshment. They do not noticed that in a kilometre away, there is another bus-library stop of the exactly same kind exists. The children are happy reading the book from there ever since. Since then, people do not have to go to the library, instead, the library would go to the household! The way they do it is by segmentation of the library sources, and to have truck to service each of the library-bus stop in every 3 days interval, just like the rubbish collecting truck. People are one great reading community after all, only when they have the ease of opportunity to access to the right facility, I wonder. 




9. Architecture fosters Community.
Today, he went to his new office, a 6 floors office building, a mid rise structure. There is a super high and volumetric lobby, atrium liked, everyone in there seems to know each other. They greet to each other, and they even know their name and which department that they belong to. Suprisingly, most are from different departments! He then take the stairs at the lobby, unconsciously perhaps, as it seems that everyone there are using it, it is connected to the super volumetric lobby. In every 12 steps, followed by a ramp, 12 steps, and then a ramp, he started to realise something. Whenever one reaches the ramp, they would overlook the people downstairs, observe around. The high volume lobby is a place that the people there like to greet and talk to each other, unlike a cramped spaces inside the a small elevator. He was then stunned by the working environment when he reached a higher floor, where almost all of the working spaces are connected to the atrium liked lobby spaces, they see each others from different departments in a distance of about 12 metres, not very clear but they know exactly the people that they are observing.




10. Architecture Educates.
Out of the boring city life, one decide to go camping for retreat. They picked a national park that is a forest reserved area. There is a kind of portable structure that they have never seen something quite like one before, available for rent for them to spend their night there. They come in a circular form shipped by medium size speed boat, they call it a transient shed. The experience with the shed is ever unique. First, it is amazing that the shed can be rolled when they transport it to the site. The best part comes when they actually need to select their own spot to set up their own shed, and this is where one learned the site! Some would figure the course of the sun, and choose to put their shed under the tree, some would love to have it closer to the sea. The setting up of shed becomes even interesting when they can actually decide to configure it according to their allies, whether they want a circular configuration type, linear, dual, and so on. It is entirely relation and team work. All it needs for one who makes decision is leadership! The camp liked setting has allow them to really dwell on the natural park, and they actually learn it through. Architecture does educates! 




11. Architecture encourage people to Think.
It is a new medium cost condominium with 4 rooms that he has moved in with 3 generic areas. He does not know where to put his living room, master room, bed room at first, strange enough. He started to enjoys it, as he began to personalised it, completely! And he has never had that much of fun to make the entire house his! Here is what he did. First, he like to think about how he spend his day, and he knows that he likes to spend much time alone on his own. There are quite a number of probabilities for him to think his layout of the house, as there is these 4 room of almost the same area, same shapes but different in height, 1 room is with balcony while 1 having a foldable partition to access to the other room with options. From one room to the other, some of them are leveled. The master room would be perfect for him to be of the higher ceiling room, so he has selected the one out of the 2, and the other generic room left will be his living room. He has decided to make that partition opened to have himself a larger master room. The entire master room now is of 2 volumes, they are levelled with one volume slightly higher than the other. This is where he would love to have his bed situated on the lower volume side, leaving the high volume side to be his work spaces. Based on all the 'clues' he has on the basis of structure of the house, he thinks his living pattern out of it! Architecture reinforces it.




12. Architecture Relates.
Living at a huge piece of undulating field, almost 20 some acres of playground and grass field. It is an earth sheltered home, the house has only one and almost half of frontages, the other sides of it are hugging with the earth. It is ever cooling to stay underneath. During the day, natural daylight would come into the interior spaces through the skylights. The ceiling is vault in form, the spaces within is just like an igloo, only it is at a tropical, hot and humid climate. At the outside of the house, one may steps on the roof top covered with grass. He then sees structures that emerged from the house underneath, forming a slide for the playground. Children love it. The vault shape ceiling on the other hand turned roof into series of undulating hills for play ground covered with grass! They lie on it almost in every evening. It is of one sight a continuous and undulating green field that gradually changes in form, and his neighbour even has a different slides in length and colours. Interestingly, they formed the entire landscape of the place. The underneath is a house of warmth while on the other side of it, the roof top is a play scape that the public would enjoy, they relate to each other. 




13. Architecture Moves
One night, in the city that filled with concrete jungles and lights, people and building somehow seems to be immune to each other. All of a sudden. one passer-by somehow has his footsteps resonant with the lighting on the facade of a corner building sitting opposite to him. It is a 6 storeys office building with colourful facade. Whenever he steps forward, one panel of the building facade will respond and light up. It was not only the beauty of it that is fascinating, but the way the intelligent system responses to the passer-by! It was fun! It turned out to have different tones of colour all around the facade. One becomes curious, and the way he would be able to completely appreciate the full spectrum of colour changing from the facade is to move around it. Architecture moves people.




14. Architecture Celebrates
Out of no where, there is a huge plate structure standing above the free-way, a very busy road with barely activities but cars. Some say it is like a sushi plate, served on top of the road. It somehow has legs, escalators that give people ease of access to cross the road, or walk on top of the plate without need to walk next to the free-way. When one goes up there, it is a complete paradise. The place is filled with water, people love it. They have their leisure time over there, rinse their legs into the water, children would play with the water too. It was then in April, in Bangkok. People were actually enjoying to splash water to each other. Architecture actually celebrates it! Culture, life, and festival!  




15. Architecture Interacts.
It was a good school that he has enrolled. Not referring to the good syllabus it provides, but he is not sure of the reason he loves it very much. The campus stands out in a way that it somehow does not worship the tradition or any particular religious belief, but knowledge! Every morning, he would walk to his faculty to his class. It is indeed a green, walk-able school campus. Along the journey, he met his friends, lecturers, even gardeners, and technician! The entire campus is planned to have a designed pedestrian loop! And the walkway further branches out to reach to each of the building in different faculty and hostel! People are directed by design to walk on the shared loop, this is where everyday meeting happens. Interesting enough, people from different faculty, discipline, age group and profession meet and interact on that loop in daily basis to communicate, share, hear and learn.    



16. Architecture gives Experience.
It was a boring Sunday and one had to stay in the concrete jungle, but not until he has decided to take a trip to one hotel-mall. It was meant to be a retreat within the city, out of the urban concrete jungle, an urban oasis kind of idea, but not of a forest within the city, but the amazing that he had is like non of all that he has experienced before this. Upon reaching, the hotel express elevator brought him all the way up to the top floor, the 34th floor, and from that they access to the entrance and lobby of the building, this is where arrival begins, and he access the mall downwards from the building after that. It is so counter-intuitive that the hotel-mall is made to be accessed from top to the bottom! Unlike the conventional one, it just gives one an amazing arrival with a relative experience, which is the relative high ground with scenic view on top of the city!




17. Architecture Activates.
It was a boring night, after 10PM, with all the roller shutter of the shops downed in the city centre. There is one exceptional tower, it is constantly glowing with lights and it is actively appearing high up in the sky. Approaching towards it, one hears slight noises, it is just like the sound from a bunch of people watching football at the restaurant. So there is this strange tower, it would allows people to climb and access to it to a higher ground, strange enough that it would bridge itself to those empty spots of the adjacent buildings, like the unused roof top, in between spaces, gaps and so on, to create activities on it. The city is activated with activities, program, with the unused spaces during the period of time after evening! 




18. Architecture Reminisces
It was a very sad news, that one heritage building will be closed down, completely tear down. The history of it and the place will be gone by then. Until one good news arised, that it will be considered in design and to be incorporated in the new development on the site. It was this new design, a huge building, a mall that sits on the existing heritage building, slightly raised above it and it is supported by huge and strong columns. The immediate idea it gives is that the new building is actually contrasts with the old building, and it gives away a great sense of reminiscent to the history, and to relate to the moment of present. Both of the new and the old have conversation with each other.  




19. Architecture Presents.
There is a famous place in this city, quite like the Time Square in New York, but slightly different in its way - the refurbished Central Market. People like to go there to see each other, and be seen. They love to observe, as there are plenty of public spaces to allow them to observe and overlook people in different angle. They would sometimes never notice that they are being watched. It works exactly like a theatre, only that the subject is the everyday life, of people and their behaviour in public spaces!




20. Architecture Recycles
There is this seemingly a mile high tower in China, everyone is very curious of its tallness, slim form. Interestingly, the tower utilizes its verticality and tallness to actually process industrial waste. Students have made a visit to it for their case study on environmental technology. From the bottom, waste will be travelled up to the top of the building and the mechanism of recycling the waste begins. The entire process moves from top to the bottom before it is being process into a new, usable material. While on the other hand,  fumes rise and inverse from the method of waste processing, purification of fumes is done from bottom to the top, until the top of the tower they were released into the atmosphere in a form of clean air. Architecture actually recycles them, and have concern over the ecology.