Student days: Koshino House, Japan
In my 2nd year of my diploma, we were asked to explore a software by remodeling a real building. I chose Tadao Ando's Koshino House to show the interplay of natural light and shadow. It was a good exercise to ensure the students learn the software to aid our presentation in future.
I remember getting frustrated by not achieving the shadows I wanted at different intervals of the day. This is the original image of what I wanted to achieve (I only have a hardcopy of my presentation as digital was not so convenient as it is now plus I might have misplaced the file after so many years.)
I learn about the interplay of shadow and light through slits and openings in solid forms like this house which was built in 1984.
In the 1990's to 2000's, I noticed buildings became more transparent and "high-tech". Glass and transparency equals to class and elegance. Selected group applaud the recreation of glass boxes residence to include even the bathroom. (Of course, these buildings were built in the nature to allow the occupants to be part of the nature). Not literally referring to Philip Johnson's Glass House, mind you.
However, in this 20th century, these kind of simplicity in form is more commonplace. In fact, some designs have became more daring with organic shapes as the technology of construction advances.
There were a few interesting buildings which caught my attention that I would like to highlight. I know there are many more buildings but unfortunately, I'm not widely read or traveled enough to have "seen" all.
Jubilee Church, Rome
This design by Richard Meier intrigued me by its simplicity and beauty in the 3 arches which happen to symbolised the Holy Trinity. I liked that the church buildings have evolved into a more symbolic ambience. An excerpt to describe the function of these concrete shells.
"The perceptual volume of the Church is directly influenced by natural light since the zenith light and the glazed skylights between the successive shells are continually responsive to the changing pattern of light and shadow as the sun moves across its trajectory. According to the season, the weather, and the time of day, light is variously graduated down the inner surface of the shells thereby imparting to the Church, the Chapel and the Baptismal Fount a particular character."
This is a link to an interview by Meier.
Jewish Museum, Berlin
This museum was designed by Daniel Libeskind. There is one thing about this museum that left a lasting memory to me was the experience through it. I find this a good example of a building not only being a shell to encase display items but giving you a journey on its own. Here's the final highlight...
The Holocaust Tower is a symbolic dark narrow tall empty space with an opening at the top; bringing natural lighting into the dark space. There is nothing in it. It is a space for you to reflect on the feelings of the victims in the concentration camp during the Holocaust. It attempts to evoke the feeling of being trapped and not being able to escape; the hopelessness of the victims who could only look out from a tiny opening in the camp.
I sincerely hope the future generation remembers how cruel human beings are to each other. Try watching the Schindler's List. It shows the setting of the Auschwitz concentration camp plus it has a very good soundtrack by John Williams.
Buildings in progress
I saw this in my e-mail from the World Architecture News.
Manfredi Nicoletti has presented this dramatic design for a church to act as the central structure in the new 2000 home satellite district of Segrate Santamonica, located in the north east axis of Milan, due for completion in 2013.
The structures of the church rise like the petals of a flower opening towards the sky and create an envelope which encloses an internal void for meditation and prayer.
Contemporary church architecture is all about the dramatic play of light and shadow, and creating spaces that speak to the landscapes and skylines they occupy. The perceptual volume of the church is directly influenced by natural light since the zenith light and the glazed skylights between the successive shells are continually responsive to the changing pattern of light and shadow as the sun moves across its trajectory. According to the season, the weather, and the time of day, light is variously graduated down the inner surface of the shells thereby imparting to the church, the chapel and the baptismal fount a particular character.
The interior of the church was intended to symbolize the arched vault of the heavens. The complex has a strong abstract image alluding to the transcendent message that will be realized through architecture. As a result finishing materials have been chosen to ensure the achievement of smooth surfaces, glass and white concrete have been used to this effect.Conclusion
Yes, transparent buildings look modern and elegant but take a look of some of the examples I have shown, doesn't an interplay of solid and void evokes interesting images and feelings? The interplay of natural light and shadow are exploited in these buildings to convey the right message.
In other words, women, don't just strip nude or dress transparent; be mysterious with a little slit here and there.. lol!