Producing to survive

After a long winter here in Ankara, the warm spring sun has finally decided to pay us a visit! In light of this, architects who have been inspired by nature, particularly flowers, shall be brought to stage this month to celebrate the annual rebirth of nature, SPRING! If you are a spring lover yourself, you will understand my excitement and joy for the coming season. The season spring comes along with blooming flowers, hopes, and chances. Writers, poets, and musical artists all use spring to symbolize all these positive and optimistic connotations but let’s leave that to them to discuss and let architects shine with their connotations and interpretations. Likewise the buildings that made it in this article, give in their own way, a chance to their visitors, residents, and the environment.

As spring is a symbol of rebirth, the following architects found a way to use flowers and come up with buildings following flowers’ structure, shape, etc. but also contribute to the environment by reducing their negative and polluting emissions and products. The first on the list is the Lotus Centre in China. The Lotus Centre as the name implies, looks like a lotus over three stages. While this building rejoices the spirit of spring, it is also a symbol of the purity of the body, speech, and mind. As visitors walk in, they encounter a grand space that is “cathedral” like which showers them with the warmth of the sun. The building encloses exhibition halls, meeting and conference rooms, and offices. As if a sculptural building that is lotus-like isn’t challenging enough, it is also sitting gracefully on an artificial lake. The lake with its “geothermal piles” pre-cools and pre-heats the building. In day light, the Lotus stands so proudly in the city of Wujin enchanting locals and tourists to discover what’s inside the human scale sculpture. However just like the sun sets to allow room for the moon to glow, the lights of the lotus building demand attention from the city and its environment. With the center buzzing with cultural enriching facilities, the visitors are like bees as they come inside the Lotus Centre, they leave with collections of memories, knowledge, and inspiration to then go on with their lives and to endlessly produce to survive.

Now travelling from China to all the way to Holland, a warm welcoming house is waiting to brag and boast about its Water Lilies inspired design. The house is also a “smart home” where different appliances and facilities can be controlled from a distance and a zero net energy house. The water Lilli looking house includes spaces that are desired and needed by the families of the present as well as the future. The spaces in the house comprise of rooms for services, entertainment, sleeping, relaxation, eating and cooking, and an extra room for the guests. The rooms and different spaces whether closed, semi-open, or open are visually connected with each other providing a feeling of openness and airiness to the house.

Away from the bold and brave house in North Holland is a much more humble house in Bolton, United Kingdom. The owner of the house wanted the least impact on the surrounding environment and landscape. The shy home tries to quietly intervene with the surrounding landscape with its open spaces. At first glance, the idea of an underground house may seem terrifying and suffocating. However, the huge windows allow plenty of natural light into the house and whenever the house offers open spaces, the landscape bows down in respect to its gentle design and impact on the environment. The house provides optimum privacy and a feeling in harmony with nature rather than its guest or intruder. The house consumes less energy and possesses “photovoltaic panels” and generates renewable energy.

After every winter, there is spring which gifts trees, plants, and animals another chance, similarly, these building do not just look like flowers, they also spread a nectar of beauty and help reduce the impact on the environment. There are many other buildings that were inspired from plants and living organisms and help contribute to reduce their impact on the environment. However, the three projects above captivated me with their strong spring vibes. They embody the meaning of spring as they in turn help the environment which we have become so neglectful of. These buildings seem soft and gentle to the eye as they interact and almost play with their surrounding environment rather than being aliens invading the serenity of the natural environment.