Sunday, September 17, 2017

Architecture and science


Architecture itself is changing over the decades to become a new branch of science and is advancing ever faster to become the new frontier to a modern world. Just over a hundred years ago, Louis Sullivan started designing the first skyscrapers in Chicago. He was then called the father of all modern architecture. This inspired a school of architecture which Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright were the leaders of at the turn of the century. Frank Lloyd Wright developed the Prairie Style of architecture after playing around with ideas in his own designed home in Oak Park, Illinois. He finally found a domestic architecture that was a dramatic departure to the Victorian era that was prominent at the turn of the century. This is where domestic modern architecture was born. In these prairie houses, Wright developed a revolutionary idea that is the foundation of modern building today--the idea that space is the main heart of a building. If it wasn’t for Frank Lloyd Wright, we wouldn’t have living rooms that are open to the kitchen and dining rooms and foyers. Houses would be boxes stacked on boxes. Houses now became open and free flowing and beautiful. This idea started a new architectural revolution with European architects such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. These architects sought out modern building materials but did not look at building with a sense of spacial awareness as Frank Lloyd Wright didl. They merely saw buildings as cost efficient machines that had modern amenities incorporated. They designed cheap houses for the working class; blue collar workers who couldn’t afford expensive houses such as the houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. Glass skyscrapers started to go up, and they continued on their voyage to find cheap and energy efficient building materials that were also cost efficient. The result of this caused architects and scientists alike to search for and create synthetic building materials that makes building even cheaper and even more cost efficient. Architecture is now an ever changing and evolving practice that is constantly updating with new ideas and keeping up with the modern world with advances all the time creating more cost efficient building. The most recent advance in architecture is fire proof CLT panels that are used in building skyscrapers. It was revolutionary whenever architects switched from iron to steel, and I believe it won’t be even less so if we switched to wood. The main problem with building skyscrapers with steel is the amount of CO2 released in the air as a result of molding the steel. Buildings are the second biggest cause of CO2 in our atmosphere and building with CLT panels greatly decreases the harmful gases getting in our atmosphere.  The way to advance architecture today is to make buildings more energy efficient and cheap and easy to assemble. This is the way for a more modern architecture in today’s world. The quest for a more modern architecture will never stop, but architecture will never be completely perfect. There is always more and more to discover. Until we can develop an architecture that is finally self aware and actually benefitting the economy and ever evolving itself into a better environment,  we will never be finished modernizing architecture.

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