Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Mighty Spheres

There are a couple of architectural projects is the possible winds that give us giant spheres (think moon, globe, ball, death star etc and your on the right track). Using this most sublime of geometries in architecture is nothing new, nor is the idea of diving right in and creating a spherical building.

Joshua Foer on Cabinet has a great article: A Minor History of Giant Spheres where he traces some of the large and huge ideas in spheres. This shows the idea has had literally 'large scale' appeal for a long time now.


[image from Foer's article showing √Čtienne-Louis Boull√©e design for his Cenotaph for Newton]

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1982 brought us the Epcot Centre part of which was the huge space-age sphere: Spaceship Earth. The Disney designed Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow project was (maybe thankfully) never realised, but the park at least gave us this super sphere...


[EPCOT Spaceship Earth image from its Wikipedia entry]

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Lets not muck around - take a look at the truly enormous sphere articulated by OMA as part of their masterplan for Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. Rem Koolhaas and Reinier de Graaf from OMA have created a design that should have the rebel scum quaking. This gigantic sphere and bar would make a grand architectural statement indeed, despite Rem's words:
So far the 21st century – in a desperate effort to differentiate one building from the next – has been characterized by a manic production of extravagant shapes. Paradoxically, the result is a surprisingly monotonous urban substance, where any attempt at ‘difference’ is instantly neutralized in a sea of meaningless architectural gestures.
RAK is confronted with an important choice: Does it join so many others in this mad, futile race or does it become the first to offer a new credibility?
This project represents a final attempt at distinction through architecture:not through the creation of the next bizarre image, but through a return to pure form.
Architect-speak at its best. Check the article on the project over on DeZeen.



[images of the RAK project by OMA on the DeZeen site]

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The Nevada desert may soon have this impressive sphere hovering above the landscape with world leaders contemplating their role in the grand scheme of things within. Robert Booth's article in the Guardian gives us some nice details of the vision that Chetwoods Associates have designed.


[render of the Chetwoods scheme for the Universitas Leadership Sanctuary from the Guardian article]

This would certainly make for a striking scheme...

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Another source for the sphere-deprived is cgsphere of course where people are creating spherical cg imagery and nothing but.


[a sample sphere image from cgsphere by anpel - just gorgeous]

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Lets let art have the last word here, Jonathan Schipper created a sphere of tvs and video cameras that you could roll from the inside - clever. His site has images of it under construction and even video of it installed...


[image of the tv sphere by Jonathan Schipper from his site]

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