Q: How can I make my building different?
A: Just take a piece of landscape and put something that looks different in it – it’s quite easy really. See?
Erm, that’s not quite what I meant.
Huh – why not? This looks different on all levels – it’s got a different colour, pattern and shape than the landscape, it’s position and alignment don’t relate to the landscape at all, and it’s size certainly makes it stand out. And not only that, we can also think of it as different. It’s colour, pattern and shape are also very errr … what’s the word? … artificial!
But it’s not a building – it’s a sparkplug!
I know, but we have buildings that pretend they are mountains, flowers, binoculars, birds – I could go on. In fact, in recent history, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s preferable for buildings to look like anything EXCEPT a building!
In the end, it’s just a surreal collage and I don’t think I even like it as art.
Me too – I’ve always preferred this one.
This “structure” is very different again. It looks different in all the basic ways, and we can also think of it as artificial in most of those ways.
Well, it’s an artificial object in a landscape as far as its surface characteristics are concerned. However, when we think of an aircraft carrier, we usually imagine its position as being on an ocean amongst waves. In this image, the wavy hills make the aircraft carrier seem more “at home” – or at least less out of place than the spark plug was. It seems more united with its surroundings. It’s one less level of surreal juxtaposition.
Well, the aircraft carrier seems like it fits its position quite well – unlike this building that seems very out of place, even though it may even look like some of the ships nearby.
That’s because it’s a ship.
IT IS NOT A SHIP! THIS IS A SHIP!
OK. I get it. It’s easy to be different then – just make your building look different and load it with ideas that make it seem different as well. Like, say, Corbusier’s Villa Savoye.
Please – it’s the year 2012 now. Everything that can possibly be said about that building has been said about it, except perhaps about its dark side and its darker side. Otherwise, let’s not mention that building ever again!
OK OK, then like, say, Arthur Erickson’s Lethbridge University?
Yes, like that. That’s all you have to do to look different, if that’s what you want.
And if my site’s in a city with lots of buildings around it?
Then make your building look natural. It’s still the same principle at work.