Organic architecture is a broad term used to describe any kind of structure in respect to its relationship with its surroundings.
First coined by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, organic architecture generally describes a building designed to reflect or be ‘at one’ with its immediate environment.
The rise of organic architecture throughout recent history has undeniably changed the way we view buildings and the environment. Where once structures would be designed in their own respect, with some thought placed on the environmental aesthetic, the idea of a building being integral in its environment is becoming increasingly popular and giving rise to a far more holistic view of architecture.
Another driving force behind this is the growing awareness of ‘green’ architecture and construction. Everyone from industry workers to the general public are becoming more conscious of the detrimental effects of traditional construction on the environment, because of this, more and more are opting for organic builds.
Read an interview with one adventurous homeowner who took the plunge and built their own ‘hobbit home’, developed with the principles of eco and organic architecture in mind.
Organic architecture takes many forms and aesthetic styles. These differences are largely due to differences in personal preference and surrounding environments. Although there are many visual forms of organic architecture, all examples share some key principles and ideologies.
Most structures feature curved faces and rounded corners, this gives the property a more natural look and helps it to fit in better with the environment.
Glass is another tool architects use to blur the lines between inside and outside, allowing for a more harmonised environment. While every design is based on the same key concepts and principles, each design is as individual as the designer themselves!
So how does this help you? Aside from an attractive design and the increased property value this brings, bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. While ‘bringing the outside in’ sounds like a fairly basic concept, it is actually a little more complex than having greenery in, around, or visible from your living space.
In thorough organic design an architect will replicate the colours, shapes and geometric patterns of the surroundings and carry them throughout the design. This is another way in which a structure can be made to feel a part of its environment rather than simply placed there.
As with any bolder concepts there are always those who dislike it. Some people don’t like the look of a flowing landscape, others may want a structure that stands out and contrasts its surroundings.
Aside from personal distaste a downside to organic architecture is that it is often very personal or individualised. This, along with the typical additional cost of more considerate and deliberate planning, means that true organic design is often quite inaccessible to the general public.
Photo by Sausalitoarchitect [CC BY-SA 3.0]