Architecture

7 Weirdest Things That Have Inspired Architects

Ojasvi Khandelwal

Writer at Oneistox

October 03

7 mins read

Inspiration sparks in the mind of an architect at the most unconventional times; right before sleeping, in the shower, walking down the street, or sometimes- even while pooping!

Some of them create a stir in the world of architecture with their innovative thinking, while some are just sad portrayals of mimetic work.

[Read: 5 Reasons You Need To Upskill in Design]

Architects worldwide have the power to get inspired from insignificant or the most mundane objects and have visualized them as architectural masterpieces. Let’s go through a few of the examples:

1. Dog Skeleton

Zürich Stadelhofen Railway Station by Santiago Calatrava

As one of his first few projects, the neo-futuristic architect Santiago Calatrava designed the curving concrete corridors of the Zurich Stadelhofen Railway Station inspired by the ribs of a dog that was gifted to him. Calatrava later adopted the style of skeletal-inspired-fluid and organic forms and a neo-futuristic sculptural style in his works, designing more than 50 bridges across the world.

[Read: Design Philosophies of Famous Architects]

2. Famous Dancers

The Dancing House in Prague by Frank Gehry

“I don't want to do architecture that's dry and dull,” said Frank Gehry in an interview with The Guardian, and he sure has lived up to that, time and again.

A deconstructivist architect, known for his notorious play with forms and fluidity in his buildings, Gehry designed The Dancing House in 1996, paying respects to the two famous dancers; Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Where the wavy glass tower represents the female dancer Ginger, the stone tower standing tall represents the male partner Fred.

[Read: When Architecture Meets Film: 7 Must-Watch Movies for Architects and Designers]

3. Musical Instruments

Piano House, Shannon, China

The students of the Hefei University of Technology gave birth to one of ‘the most romantic buildings in China’ as they designed a 50:1 scale model of a violin resting on a piano, in ‘Mimetic Style of Architecture’.

Black glass panels interlaced with alternating white and clear glass panels represent keys of the piano and a sheltered roof terrace resembles a propped-open lid of a piano. The violin constructed with clear glass panels is the entrance to the building, encompassing the atrium and the concert hall.

4. Something fishy with - The Fish?

The Olympic Fish Pavilion in Barcelona by Frank Gehry

A classic example of Mimetic Architecture, the Fish Building in Hyderabad, which houses the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) is said to be inspired by the Fish Pavillion in Barcelona by Frank Gehry. With rectangular scales-like windows and mouth punctured in the front, the building is debated as a failed example in architecture, with neither aesthetic appeal nor resolved functionality.

[Read: The Hyperspecialist vs. Generalist Designer: Which One Are You?]

5. Shopping Basket

The Big Basket building, in Newark, Ohio

Initially proposed as a design that is inspired by the company’s best-selling product, a medium-size maple wood shopping basket, the founder of The Longaberger Company suggested the building to be an exact replica of the basket.

Standing as a 160:1 scale basket in the city of Ohio, The Longaberger Company office is a perfect example of Novelty Architecture.

6. Lego Blocks

The Lego Building in Billund, Denmark by Bjarke Ingels Group

For the ultimate Lego experience, Bjarke Ingles Group and LEGO have designed a LEGO house with 21 large Lego blocks stacked, with individual purposes.

Each block is made of white ceramic tiles and roofs in the primary colors of LEGO blocks, to resemble a 2x4 colored block. Built as an experience hub, it portrays the infinite possibilities of LEGO bricks, paying homage to the LEGO community.

[Read: Why Bjarke Ingels is the BIG Visionary of Today]

7. Car Engines

BMW Museum, Munich

Conceptualized from the car engines, Architects Atelier Brückner of Stuttgart designed the museum in the shape of four intersecting cylinders, built-in 2003. This was added to the existing white cauldron or salad bowl-shaped exhibition area designed by Karl Schwanzer in the year of 1972.

Blog By Ojasvi Khandelwal

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