Precedents | Factory-Radio-Garden Community Center Prototype

March 23, 2011

To prepare for developing a new building prototype that combines program of factory (wax production), radio (community awareness/info base), and community garden (community building recreation and health awareness), I looked at several radical groups that proposed innovative building types in the past.

One was ANT FARM. While reviewing a text entitled “Ant Farm 1968-1978” by Constance M. Lewallen and Steve Seid from Texas A&M’s library collection, I learned that the (primarily architectural) collective was involved in a number of endeavors that were innovative expressions of the avant garde lifestyles and were critiques of out-dated societal norms. Indeed, the Brutalist architectural movement that characterized much of the architecture of the 1960s was the polar opposite of the inflatable structures designed for a mobile lifestyle for which they are particularly well-known. The following image was found on a blogsite titled Experimental Communities

However, one experimental/proposed idea in the book really caught my attention: ANTFARM’s Surplus City.

This combination of community functions into a strange and interesting sections is very intriguing.

Another group I looked into was Future Systems. Founded in 1982, the group primarily produced theoretical designs until the 1990s. Much of the work uses construction techniques from other industries (such as airplane or boat) to design radical architectural solutions. The book “Future Systems: The Story of Tomorrow” compiles many of their projects. One in particular that I found interesting for my research was a garden center designed for Kew Gardens.

The last group I researched was FOA (Foreign Office Architects). In the book I found about their practice, FOA reviews its own architectural efforts from 1993-2003 and it is chock-full of programmatic/conceptual diagrams as well as beautiful plans and sections. The book is entitled “Phylogenesis: foa’s ark.” Phylogenesis refers to “the evolutionary development and diversification of a species or group of organisms, or of a particular feature of an organism.” They believe their architectural work is an evolving hybrid belonging to a global order of design that responds to local specificities.

Some images of work that I found provocative for my exploration include the following:

Meydan Retail complex in Istanbul, Turkey

Yokohama Ferry Terminal, Yokohama, Japan

Sketches of my own ideas will be in the next post.

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