Modern architecture has always relied on rule-breaking. For a building to be truly innovative or cutting edge, traditionally lines are expected to be crossed, leaving the rest of the industry wondering how the greatest feats are feasible.
This is particularly evident in the notion of ‘undone’ architecture, or form-bending skyscrapers, architecture that goes against the traditional linear form of tall buildings.
Architect Rem Koolhaas of OMA architects is a leader in this realm, creating concepts and built developments that go against convetion and stand out from the norm.
The key question is, with such success and acclaim that these building garner, why don’t architects do this more often?
Concepts for many of these outside-the-box designs tend to remain in concept phase, with factors such as functionality, feasibility and design creativity makes them difficult to be brought into the built arena.
Some of OMA’s most creative and subversive designs include the proposed 111 First Street high-rise development, which literally spins the middle section of the planned New Jersey building, and 23 East 22nd Street with its stacked, cantilevered design plan for New York City.
However, OMA is not the only firm with a perchance for the radical. Architectural firm MVRDV has released plans for the ‘Cloud’ skyscraper, a linear skyscraper building that bursts into pixelated ‘cloud’ modules mid-way up its 853-foot trunk.
This type of digression from the norm can be difficult to achieve, but it gains attention. One of OMA’s most critically and publicly acclaimed buildings, China’s CCTV headquarters, completely subverts design norms and stands as one of the world’s most iconic modern architecture feats, particularly from an industry perspective.
Its iconic flip appears to be a marvel of engineering and design and stands as a unique form in a skyline of modern buildings.
Re-writing design rules on a grand scale is one of the many joys of architecture. Designers plan record-breaking buildings that astound because they can, and creating less imposing but equally impressive unique designs makes for another fascinating challenge.