The initial focus was to understand how plants and trees protect themselves against extreme weather conditions such as heavy winds, sand storms and heavy rainfalls, alternated by plenty of sunlight. How does observing nature help me in designing a resilient and at the same time ecological building?
An aerodynamic facade whose geometry changes according to the wind directions.
The twists of trunks, like a spinning layering, is a defining factor for strength and resilience. I investigated this biological processes which naturally led to the design and calculation of a watchtower on the jetty at the harbour of Zeebrugge.
The dominant winds on this location near the sea are circumvented by the design and make the tower less vulnerable to lateral forces. The wooden structure is adapted to this phenomenal pressure and makes therefore possible to use much lighter concrete foundations. This has a positive impact on the environment and, instead of using concrete for the whole structure, ecological materials, such as a wooden spine can be used.
Eventually the weather patterns in the North Sea not only conjured up the notion of elasticity of the outer skin but also of the interior design. The spiral model that systematically emerges in nature (e.g. torsions in the vegetation, the funnel-shaped rotation of whirlpools and
tornadoes) inspired me to place a glass swirling through all floors containing the spiral staircase around a lift.
The bundling of various open-source and parametric software gives me a much greater design flexibility because it allows me to program instead of drawing the building.
Developing a versatile architecture is also a response to our today’s digital environment and its increasingly dynamic, flexible and computable context.
The wooden structure is surrounded by billowing sails stretched on a movable structure. It refers to the old ships that braved the seven seas. The production of the hull occurred at that time mostly on the same principle as in my design today.