By mixing the traditional with new ideas and a technological focus, architecture can serve as a rousing example of modern innovation.
One project that takes traditional sentimentality and nostalgia and mixes it with the best of modern innovation is the design concept for the ‘Seattle Jelly Bean,’ slated for the Seattle Centre in Washington in the US.
The structural concept is unlike anything ever seen before.
Aesthetically, the ‘jelly bean’ is a large balloon-like structural form. It is expected to hover above an open-air gathering space below, protecting those below from the elements while also serving as a screen of sorts on which city announcements can be displayed.
The development is a prime example of the crossover between aesthetics and function, as the jelly bean can take on different forms depending on its function. This is evident through one of its most innovative elements; its atmospheric imitating skin. The structure has the ability to create a visual microclimate, imitating the effects and looks of sunshine, with the balloon shape taking on a ‘sun-like’ quality, as well as fog, clouds and even rain.
The unique technology that will allow this kind of transformation, will also allow the structure to act as a projection screen for public events and as an interactive announcement board for these occasions.
The overall design layout of the space beneath the jelly bean has been created with connectivity and communication in mind. With its cross grid interaction format, the layout promotes movement through a variety of different interactive social zones, thus encouraging communication and bringing a sense of community to the space. This will help ensure the space is well-used.
The architectural concept is an interesting and unique mixture of technological and architectural elements in order to create a striking addition to a public space. The concept is exciting in that it could be implemented in various locales across the globe due to its multi-contextual nature. Should the Seattle project take off as anticipated, these interesting and highly useful structures could begin popping up in public spaces around the world.