Publisher Gestalten writes: Thanks to innovations in building materials, design technologies, and construction tools, a new generation of architects can finally realize structures that would have previously remained mere dreams. This emergence of a new vernacular of radically sculpted buildings, rooms, and installations melds rigorous usability with a playful and cutting edge aesthetic, facilitating highly functional yet undeniably exhilarating spaces.
The Sky’s the Limit serves as a compelling exploration of these seemingly impossible, yet surprisingly practical structures and spaces. Unleashing the creative potential offered by the latest developments in design and construction, this book presents spectacularly formed buildings, façades, and interiors as well as inspiring temporary projects and urban interventions by both young and established talents. The projects featured here have all been built, are actively in use, and transport us to the outer limits of our spatial imagination.
Clémence Eliard and Elise Morin, WasteLandscape, Paris. Image ©Martin Eliard
The Sky’s the Limit – Applying Radical Architecture shows architecture that defies inhibition and doctrines but its ‘radical’ element shouldn’t be confused with the critical investigations of Archigram or Superstudio. Many of the buildings presented in the book have been commissioned by major cultural, political and religious institutions and by business organizations. They act as striking symbols of their power. Given the high number of ambitious buildings erected in Spain, one can also suspect that they were commissioned and financed long before the crisis that is bringing Europe to its knees.
One thing is sure though, every single building in the book is arresting, unique and worthy of more newspaper columns than The Shard and other candidates in the race for tallest skyscraper.
The chapters in the book divide radical architecture into:
– Organic Flow with buildings that twist and turn, bend and undulate.
– Sharp Structures is all about angles, edges and geometrical volumes.
– Smarter Surfaces, the ones we’ve been reading about for years are finally applied to the façades of sports halls, museums and office blocks. The technology is impressive, the result is not always pleasing to the eye.
– Internal Affairs because there’s no reason why innovation should stop at the façade.
– and Point of View is all about architecture that learns from the nature it has invaded.
The Sky’s the Limit is a collection of cutting-edge buildings. And it is a remarkably well-curated collection. But don’t expect detailed descriptions of the technology used, of the challenges encountered or the impact the building had on the people who work inside it or live around it. This is a coffee table book, theory is scarce.
Another thing! This is probably not the place for such comment: but why is architecture literature suddenly so fond of the preposition ‘atop’?
Still, i loved that book, its content is magnificent. Quick selection:
Spaceport America in New Mexico, the world’s first commercial space terminal.
Foster + Partners, Spaceport America, New Mexico. Photo © Nigel Young/Foster + Partners
Invisible from a distance, the Moses Bridge is a wooden passageway that parts a river in two.
RO&AD Architecten, Moses Bridge, Bergen op Zoom, NL. Photo © RO & AD Architects
The terminal, control tower and storage spaces of the Aeroport Lleida-Alguaire are drawn in a continuous line, forming a single construction.
b720 Fermin Vazquez Arquitectos, Lleida-Alguaire Airport, Spain
A playground structure turned into a joyous pavilion covered in funhouse mirrors and wood panels.
MLRP, Mirror House, Copenhagen, Denmark. Image © Laura Stamer
Twelve buildings shaped like archetypal houses and stacked upon one another.
Herzog & de Meuron, VitraHouse, Weil am Rhein. Photo by Iwan Baan © vitra
The 4-story building has plants in lieu of a façade, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows and curtains to make up for the absence of interior walls.
Office of Ryue Nishizawa, Garden & House, Tokyo
On the coastal border between Turkey and Georgia:
J. MAYER H. Architects, Sarpi Border Checkpoint, Sarpi, Georgia. Photo © Jesko Malkolm Johnsson-Zahn
A concerte building for the employees of the Paris transportation system. Shaped like a ship with round windows.
Stéphane Maupin, RATP Formation Center, Paris
UNStudio, MUMUTH House for Music and Music Theater, Graz, Austria. Photo © Christian Richters
Ordos Museum is covered in metal tiles that can stand violent sandstorms.
MAD, Ordos City Museum, Inner Mongolia, China
Little Hilltop with Wind View, a 8 meter-tall viewing tower commissioned by a Japanese wind power company, allows people to admire the landscape as well as the company’s wind turbines. The light and flexible building is also responsive to the wind, swaying slightly on its platform when the wind blows. Like a tree in the breeze.
Shingo Masuda, Katsuhisa Otsubo & Yuta Shimada, Little Hilltop with Wind View
Views inside the book: