The sensory magic of undulating architecture

By 2 July, 2021 No Comments

The aim of curved lines in architectural design is to enhance the sensory aspects of the project. By varying these lines, it is possible to integrate an emotional component in the architecture whereby fluidity and grace expand throughout the space.

Ripples are unpredictable and, depending on their variation and depth, create distinct sensations. They charm and engage those who inhabit the living space, creating a deep bond and relationship with it.

Example of undulating architecture

Here at The Decorative Surfaces, we take a look at three architecture projects that incorporate ripple variations in their design. Thus they provide sensory links, where the energy and drama of intense curves dissipate with the agility of lighter more fluid lines; and where poetry is perceived through myriad interpretations and metaphors that, like the biosphere, grow and multiply.

A living architectural shell by UNStudio

The sublime external undulating lines are showcased in this project design by UNStudio (Netherlands). Even before entering the building, the sensory effect is already perceptible from outside. It fits in perfect harmony with the surroundings, a nature conservation area. The rippling curves offer different vibrations that resonate with observers placing them in their own time and space.

Undulating architecture project proposed by UNStudio

It is not the curved form itself that stimulates the minds of those living there or just visiting, but rather the magic of the design is complemented with other elements that flourish naturally with the inclusion of the ever-changing, ephemeral light. In this way, light and shadow imbue the structure with a dynamic force. The design is never the same, and is in constant flux. As such, circumstances evolve alongside it, with as many perspectives as there are observers, and as many interpretations as there are sunsets.

Leaving aside the aesthetics of the structure, while appreciating its poetic force, the design effectively resolves one particular objective, in that it prioritises the efficiency and comfort of its spaces. The building aims for a working environment with people at its heart: this is why the Dutch architecture studio designed the space in the same way as in nature, in the form of trees that grow around the structure.

Here, the architecture becomes a metaphor for the purity of the natural surroundings. UNStudio analysed passers-by, observing how they move around the building and gave them back their natural purpose. The design comprises multiple routes leading to different spaces, which enable personnel to pass through the transparencies of the façade. Thus the objective sensory base sparks productive, aesthetic and poetic development and expansion in an awe-inspiring way.

The curve as architectural sculpture

The vertical contour of rippling balconies reveals a near-sculptural structure at the Aqua Tower in Chicago. This is where the city manages to immerse itself in poetry with forms that restore and stir the senses.

The Chicago Aqua Tower

It is as if the building were sculpted, with an external perspective casting light and shadows with the rippling movement of its design, creating an air of enchantment and drama. The undulating line vibrates as the building soars upwards, shifting frequency and creating a calculated skin for the façade. And the movement gives the roof a powerful form that is a true metaphor for the inherent geological force of the area.

Undulating architecture in the AquaTower

The glass façade adds a sublime aesthetic feeling, nuanced by the reflection and opacity of everyday life. In this way the project assumes a life of its own just as in the previous design, through different human approaches and perspectives.

The infinite nature of architectural interpretation is a constant for those admiring its forms, albeit inside or out, with its predominant and soaring view of Chicago.

Dramatic elevation to the heavens

The elevation of frequency is realised through the undulating ripples used in the Bosjes Chapel (South Africa). The design by Steyn Studio leans towards sculpture through a powerful and elegant homage. It pervades the emotions connecting to the essence of what it is to be human.

The Bosjes Chapel is also an example of undulating architecture

The elevations help to create a sinuous contour that drops dramatically to meet the purity of the earth. The glass acts like a skin that can be glimpsed between the rising waves. It is as if they were straining skywards towards the divine, just as Gothic domes and arches connected with the celestial heavens.

The Bosjes Chapel by Steyn Studio

Projects such as these showcase the sensory aspects that characterise the true essence of a more humanised architecture, created through shape and form.

Through the curve created by a sequential line of points varying in frequency, creating something that is different, and special. Something human.

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