When to design the Phaeno Science Centre, (2005),

When structures feature in architecture, the architects often exhibit the relationship between material and form. Zaha Hadid’s Phaeno Science Centre and Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum emphasise the distinction between the styles of the architects and the restrictions and constraints of the site.

Upon observation of these two magnificent buildings, I solely wanted to focus on the comparability between the material and structural form. Zaha Hadid has created a profound new approach when designing the Phaeno Science Centre, Hadid conceived the imaginative ideas for this structure using geometry and portrays the hectic nature of the modern day and the surrounding city (SLESSOR, C., 2005). In contrast, The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (1997), in the last decade, is known as the more important new art museum and Gehry’s collection resides there in the Guggenheim. Gehry’s Guggenheim museum is described as a “Museum as Environmental Art” (GREGORY, R., 2005) perceiving Gehry’s Guggenheim to create an interactive environment as a newer kind of art. While these two buildings were built in different centuries, both explore the same corresponding geometric shapes of form.

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However, Hadid’s design is simple and basic, accentuating the unity with the circumferential area. Gehry’s Guggenheim museum demonstrates how material and form can be complexly shaped and the contrasting features to the environment. Zaha Hadid is a well renowned architect, significantly known for utilising forms and geometric shapes to design the Phaeno Science Centre, (2005), Wolfsburg, Germany. The word ‘Phaeno’ (Greek origin) translates ‘cast light upon’ or to ‘discover’, which clearly relates to the project very well. The Phaeno expresses and captivates the world with its sense of wonder. The location of the structure is in the urban district of Wolfsburg. Hadid’s design style is large patterned dynamic forms. For the Phaeno Science Centre, Hadid designed the building with organic forms.

The form of this building is like a “platform standing with angular forms”. Zaha Hadid’s Phaeno Science Centre is built with simple, bare concrete walls with a smooth finish. However, the smooth façade embellishes the patterned windows on the exterior. The slanted shaped windows are mirrored throughout the interior of the building.

The Phaeno Science Centre, Wolfsburg, is differing from other architectural forms as it is designed as a whole structure which is confined to one organic and solid construction.Large columns support the building that allows the space underneath to “become part of the urban fabric” and the distorted building form is observed to convey movement. The exterior shape extrudes on concrete slabs from the ground and can be compared to a “jagged crystalline fragment”. By continuing with this metaphor of crystal structures, the natural aspect of the design is exemplified and also the new innovative technology presented. The Phaeno, was designed, to create an expressive response from the structure for its users to reminisce. Frank Gehry is a North American worldwide renowned architect who has developed the style of using the material steel along with incorporating this into high-tech and flowing designs. These designs and structures, e.

g. including the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, have broken the rigid hold of straightforward designs that have dominated throughout the ages – breaking free from the restraints and embracing modern architecture. Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum is an attractive and impressive architectural build. It is one of few buildings that “truly interacts with art”. The building highlights the centre of Bilbao, which is located on the waterfront. Gehry’s style of the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao represents an abnormal imposition of free-flowing forms enclosed in a continuous, shiny metal skin. The building ignores all components that “would otherwise lead to coherence”.

Gehry discovered inspiring ways to “shatter and re-assemble” architectural forms. The Guggenheim is perceived to be shapes melded into forms together, arranged into the lively structure it is today. Gehry’s striking work on the Guggenheim connects elements that bend, ripples and unfurls. “Every surface in this space curves, these curves are gentle, but in their huge scale, powerfully sensual.” The structure contains titanium, limestone, and glass.

Cladding around the building is titanium around the steel frame, and also in some areas limestone cladding. The glass creates the atrium of the structure. The Guggenheim structure in Bilbao was designed and consulted with museum representatives to help and aid the design with a more conventional approach. The functionality of the Guggenheim is a successful aspect of Gehry’s design with the fusion of art and architecture. The galleries are located on each floor and connected to the atrium. The Guggenheim is an attraction of art itself.

Gehry’s fundamental structure was constructed with a grid and shaped with steel beams. “Gehry in his studio transformed the energetic lines into hundreds, if not thousands, of models, created by folding, twisting and crumpling paper and card to create the apparently random forms that crystallized to become a building. “(Cattermole, P.

2007). The similarities between the two buildings; the Phaeno science centre and the Guggenheim museum are striking, and they deserve merit through thorough research of the form that connects both. The elongated geometrical shapes are what stand out to me when comparing the buildings. Both architects have incorporated stretched rectangles that span over the surface areas of both structures. Although they bear some similarities, the differences between the Phaeno science centre and the Guggenheim museum are clear and pronounced. The Phaeno science centre enraptures its beholder by its style of ‘Parametricism’ – the new way which Hadid’s known for with the creation of shapes that consider no dependence on the conception of building structures which, unlike the Guggenheim museum, the structure wasn’t hidden and the structure of the building was essentially the architecture.

Gehry’s Guggenheim adopts the interest of exposing and allowing the materials to become a spectacle. With examination of the design of the building; Zaha Hadid’s The Phaeno Science Centre, we can see that Hadid embraces a new approach to the structure of uniting components as a singular structure and has resisted from using “traditional restrictions” 3. Hadid’s structure is unrestricted, as it is elevated, allowing the public to stroll through the formation of the building and observe the “robust appearance” 2 and the unity of the museum and leisure centre.

 With the Phaeno Science Centre, it integrates the public space with the architecture of the contemporary city. The special methods of the Phaeno Science Centre don’t restrict, instead using clever ways to enable constant access through the building. With this design, the Phaeno is used as a link between the two separate parts of the city.     The Phaeno Science Centre enraptures the technical and cultural heritage of Wolfsburg, Germany. The Phaeno was considered a model to the morphology of the future. The urban presence of the building has shocked many to its robust appearance from combining museum and leisure centre.

 Gehry uses free-form flowing components from local materials that were selected to be reminiscent of the Modernist Spanish sculptures, which incorporates a cultural aspect aimed and respected by the Basque country. The Guggenheim’s design also has a historical aspect included the past of Bilbao’s trades and the rivers previous wealth into the city’s booming industries. The architect Frank Gehry’s design of the enormous boat-shaped gallery is a dedication toward Bilbao’s past as a centre of shipbuilding and trade (Guasch and Zulaika, 2005, p. 154). Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao is an enclosed structure that separates and acts as a blockade between the surrounding areas of the structure. M.

Irving writes about The Guggenheim being a saviour to the city and compares it to ‘Hercules’. Its vast structure is a profound design which is signature to its location. The writer speaks admiringly about the way Gehry has portrayed playfulness between the rigid structure and the flowing steel. The new building amends the region to be modern and re-evaluates its deteriorated public spaces. “The Guggenheim was the olive in the martini – highly visible – but not the main event.” (Heathcote, E, & Vicario, L 2017)Cast in place concrete is the main construction material of the structure.

This type of concrete used needs to flow easily to create the smooth finish represented on the building. With the Phaeno Science centre it gives the impression, with the glass surrounding the building that you’re able to see into the solid mass of concrete. Nevertheless, exploring contrasts between the transparency and opacity of the building as a whole. The surfaces of the building appear to have a light grey matte finish and the pattern on the surface takes on a geometric approach. The shapes seem to be directional to a single point perspective. Personally, I feel this accentuates the optical effect of exaggerated perspective along the entire visible surface. The Baroque curves are seen to glisten to the observers of the building surrounding the sculptural exterior.

The building being most significantly known as having the exterior and harmonising with the interior which is just as unusual. The galleries throughout the building take inspiration, with the abnormal shaped and magnificent, forms towering and curving around the atrium. The Guggenheim revitalises the city and is a work of art and is an impressive piece of architecture. Generally Frank Gehry is assumed to have designed the Guggenheim as a piece of architecture that fuses the elements of the form in a way to preserve the originality, the origins of the material and the culture.

 The Guggenheim museum has numerous volumes, levels and lines that revolves around a centre point, the Guggenheim there in personifying the circulation of images and ideas – metaphorically portraying the ideas of the architect and the images from the gallery encompassed internally.  Both these buildings are in the industrial centre and are aiming to reinvent the cities they’re located in; their massive grid structures replace the stark domain. The buildings both structural designs contrast entirely to the fluid simplicity of the concrete floors and interior. The buildings I have been discussing are seen as second skins of the city, the designs, material and structures both respond to the environment and enrapture the public. The buildings are seen as artistic abstract works that marvel in their surrounding landscapes.


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