Blobitecture (from blob architecture), blobism and blobismus are terms for a movement in architecture in which buildings have an organic, amoeba-shaped, building form. Though the term ‘blob architecture’ was in vogue already in the mid-1990s, the word blobitecture first appeared in print in 2002, in William Safire’s “On Language” column in the New York Times Magazine in an article entitled Defenestration. Though intended in the article to have a derogatory meaning, the word stuck and is often used to describe buildings with curved and rounded shapes.
Origins of the term “blob architecture”
The term ‘blob architecture’ was coined by architect Greg Lynn in 1995 in his experiments in digital design with metaball graphical software. Soon a range of architects and furniture designers began to experiment with this “blobby” software to create new and unusual forms. Despite its seeming organicism, blob architecture is unthinkable without this and other similar computer-aided design programs. Architects derive the forms by manipulating the algorithms of the computer modeling platform. Some other computer aided design functions involved in developing this are the nonuniform rational B-spline or NURB, freeform surfaces, and the digitizing of sculpted forms by means akin to computed tomography.
Archigram, the group of British architects of the 1960s that included Peter Cook, clearly influenced the architectural blob. They were interested in the inflatable architecture without angles as well as in the shapes obtained by molding plastic with softened shapes.
Ron Herron, another Archigram member, designed architecture very similar to blob architecture in his Walking City or Instant City projects, or Michael Webb with his Sin Center project. There existed at the time an architectural experiment integrated into the psychedelism of the 1970s strong sound of electronic music (the “synthes” nascent) and light brought into play with colors and movements.
Frederick Kiesler’s Endless House, which was not built, is another example of blob architecture before the letter because it was designed before the use of software tools, and though it displayed the principle of symmetry in forms. His project of the Sanctuary of the Book (begun in 1965) has the characteristic shape of a droplet and anticipated the repertoire of forms that interests the architects of today.
At the same time in France, there are architects such as Antti Lovag, Claude Costy or Pascal Haüsermann with their bubble houses that resemble the revival of artistic forms of pop culture.
We can also bring closer to the blob architecture, if we consider more formal than technical, the work of architects like Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona4 or Expressionists like Bruno Taut and Hermann Finsterlin.
One precedent is Archigram, a group of English architects working in the 1960s, to which Peter Cook belonged. They were interested in inflatable architecture as well as in the shapes that could be generated from plastic. Ron Herron, also a member of Archigram, created blob-like architecture in his projects from the 1960s, such as Walking Cities and Instant City, as did Michael Webb with Sin Centre. Buckminster Fuller’s work with geodesic domes provided both stylistic and structural precedents. Geodesic domes form the building blocks for works including The Eden Project. Niemeyer’s Edificio Copan built in 1957 undulates nonsymetrically invoking the irregular non-linearity often seen in blobitecture. There was a climate of experimental architecture with an air of psychedelia in the 1970s that these were a part of. The Flintstone House
Despite the narrow acceptance of blob architecture (that is to say, that obtained through the computer), the word, especially in everyday language, is increasingly associated with a series of realizations Curved and a little strange like the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao (in 1997) or the Experience Music Center (in 2000) of Gehry, although these, strictly speaking, are not really blob architecture: even they were made thanks to the CAD, like the software CATIA in particular, they were retranscribed numerically from real models without handling ex nihilo to the computer; their design is more traditional sculpture than new technologies.
The first true blob building to be built was in Neeltje Jans in the Netherlands by Lars Spuybroek (NOX) and Kas Oosterhuis. Called the Water Pavilion (1993-1997), it is not only its form that is due to digital operations, but also its electronically interactive indoor environment where sounds and light can be modulated by visitors.
by William Nicholson in 1976, was built over large inflated balloons. Frederick Kiesler’s unbuilt, Endless House is another instance of early blob-like architecture, although it is symmetrical in plan and designed before computers; his design for the Shrine of the Book (construction begun, 1965) which has the characteristic droplet form of fluid also anticipates forms that interest architects today. Similarly, one would have to include the work of Vittorio Giorgini (Casa Saldarini), Pascal Haüsermann and especially that of Antti Lovag as examples of successfully built blobs. The latter built the famous Palais Bulles close to Cannes on the French Côte d’Azur, owned by fashion designer Pierre Cardin.
Also to be considered, if one views blob architecture from the question of form rather than technology, are the organic designs of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona and of the Expressionists like Bruno Taut and Hermann Finsterlin. Lastly, the emergence of new aesthetic-oriented architectural theories like OOO have led to contemporary architects explicitly examine the formal-technological-theoretical implications of blobitecture, including digital-physical augmented reality works of architects like iheartblob.
The term, especially in popular parlance, has come to be associated quite widely with odd-looking buildings including Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (1997) and the Experience Music Project (2000). These, in the narrower sense, are not blob buildings, even though they were designed by advanced computer-aided design tools, CATIA in particular. The reason for this is that they were designed from physical models rather than from computer manipulations. The first full blob building, however, was built in the Netherlands by Lars Spuybroek (NOX) and Kas Oosterhuis. Called the Water Pavilion (1993–1997), it has a fully computer-based shape manufactured with computer-aided tools and an electronic interactive interior where sound and light can be transformed by the visitor.
A building that also can be considered an example of a blob is Peter Cook and Colin Fournier’s Kunsthaus (2003) in Graz, Austria. Other instances are Roy Mason’s Xanadu House (1979), and a rare excursion into the field by Herzog & de Meuron in their Allianz Arena (2005). By 2005, Norman Foster had involved himself in blobitecture to some extent as well with his brain-shaped design for the Philological Library at the Free University of Berlin and the Sage Gateshead opened in 2004. French-born architect Ephraim Henry Pavie build the free shaped Biomorphic House (2012)in Israel.
A building that can also be considered exemplary blobs is the Kunsthaus Graz, built in 2003 by Peter Cook and Colin Fournier.
Other examples include Roy Mason’s house Xanadu (1979), or a rare Herzog & de Meuron road trip with the Allianz Arena (2005).
In 2005, to a certain extent, Norman Foster ventured into the blobitecture with his philology library of the free Berlin University reminiscent of a brain-shaped form, and the Gateshead Sage Gateshead, which opened in 2004 in Gateshead. there looks like a giant crosne.
In France, blob architecture is not very visible. The most prominent figures are Jakob + MacFarlane, notably with the realization of the restaurant Georges [archive] on the last floor of the Pompidou Center (1998). But there is no such thing as an architect emblematic of this movement, only projects (built or paper) in the work of architects who explore the wider field of architecture. The architect François Roche does a job that can sometimes be called blob architecture. Some projects like U.E.R. in law at Limoges by Massimiliano Fuksas (1996) or the cover of the Visconti court at the Louvre by Rudy Ricciotti (planned for 2009) involve organic forms to create a contrast effect with a more orthonormal structure around. The French-born architect Ephraim Henry Pavie realizes in Israel Biomorphic House.
Source From Wikipedia