Architecture is an expression that reflects the thoughts and trends of a particular era. Deconstructivism was a Modern Movement that started in the last quarter of the twenty-first century. This architectural style is a heavily controversial domain – the absence of harmony, symmetry, manipulation of surface developments, form morphing and so on are commonly used to describe such buildings. In other words, deconstructivism reflects rebellion against the conventional norms of architectural practice and social dilemma. The acclaimed thumb rule “Form follows Function” is particularly contradicted. Such designs by deconstructivism architects often remain as conceptual exploration on paper, but those which are realised in reality are a source of wonder and an instant portal to a universe of infinite possibilities.

1. London Aquatics Centre | Deconstructivism

Architect: Zaha Hadid
Year: 2004 Competition Winner, Built for Olympics 2012
Budget: 6.09 Billion Euros
Concept: Geometry of Fluids in Motion
Facts: 628 Panes of Glass. 8 External Doors, 2800 – 3800 seats

The roof has a double curvature geometry for a parabolic archway. The entire structure uses sustainable strategies – BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) Innovation Credit, green walls, rainwater harvesting, recycling of grey and black water to cut down water demands by 40%, Low-velocity HVAC systems, the well-insulated envelope of the building.

2. Art Gallery of Ontario

Architect: Frank Gehry
Year: 2001-2008
Budget: 276 million Canadian Dollars
Key Features:

The additions to the existing gallery were made by Gehry due to the acquisition of over 10,000 art pieces, and hence, demand for more room.

1. Facade elevation with curved glass and Douglas fir
2. Three Storeyed Blue tinted titanium and glass-clad building houses the Centre for Contemporary Art.
3. The Art Gallery’s lobby- Walker Court has been realigned with the original core of the overall building.
4. The Galleria Italia – dedicated to the Toronto Families of Italian Descent is a striking cantilevered space.

3. 8 Spruce Street | Deconstructivism

Architect: Frank Gehry
Year: 2011
Budget: 680 Million USD
Concept: “Step into Space” through dynamic changes throughout the day
Key Features:

  1. Frank Gehry’s first big project, one of New York’s eight tallest buildings and the tallest building yet in the west.
  2. 10,500 Stainless steel panels clad exterior in unsymmetrical waves that reflect lighting and hence have various aesthetic effects on its silhouette.
  3. 870 feet tall, 76 storeys tall, 106 square ft gross floor area, 903 apartment units residential building.

4. Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

Architect: Frank Gehry
Year: 1997
Location: Spain
Budget: 100 Million USD
Concept: Scales of a Fish, “Bilbao Effect”
Key Features:

1. This iconic masterpiece has been a milestone in the history of architecture. It has directly affected the entire town and has changed how art, architecture and collections can be linked and perceived by people.
2. 33000 titanium and zinc alloy sheath plates of thickness 0.3mm have been used for the façade treatment with undulating sine curves had been designed on CATIA (Computer-Aided Three-Dimensional Interactive Application)
3. The entire building spreads around a central axis with a 50 metres high metal dome. Other materials used in the façade include stone and glass.
4. The premises consists of 19 galleries, vertigo-inducing betwixt spaces and houses several permanent art installations.

5. Beijing National Stadium | Deconstructivism Architects

Architects: Herzog & De Meuron Architekten, Arup Sport and the China Architecture Design
Year: 2007
Budget: 423 Million USD
Concept: Birds Nest
Key Features:

1. Seating a crowd of 80k-90k, it is the world’s largest enclosed space with a gross volume of 3 million cubic metres. Dimensions – 333 metres NS, 294 metres EW, 69 metres high.

2. The circular form of the stadium represents heaven as well as the bird’s nest, apart from conforming with IOC and IAAF requirements, the design is earthquake-resilient, optimised ventilation using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and supports geothermal heating and cooling through underground pipes.

3. L- shaped precast concrete units were used for the roof which was supported by a structural framework of in-situ beams and columns of 1000 tonnes each.

4. The stadium is supported by a 7-storey shear wall, the roof is a separate element for seismic resistance, and the overall framework is supported on a grid formation.

5. The nest consists of a 36km long steel band and is inspired by the Chinese symbol- Yin Yang.

6. The Libeskind Building – Jewish Museum | Deconstructivism

Architect: Daniel Libeskind
Year: 2001
Budget: 6 million euros
Concept: Jewish Star of David in Form and Zoning
Key Features:

1. The flow of the building symbolised the experiences of the Jewish community – Continuity of German History, Escape from Germany and the Holocaust.

2. The envelope and interior materials – steel and concrete are perceived as cold entities and the slits of openings at irregular intervals depict the light at the end of the tunnel during hard times of WWII.

3. The Zig-Zag plan intends to nudge the visitors to lose the sense of direction, lead to empty spaces, dead ends. Further, one enters the Garden of Exile in the end, the 49 tall concrete pillars intend to disorient the user and force them to realise the contrast of dark and light spaces.

The Jewish Museum is conceived as an emblem in which the Invisible and the Visible are the structural features which have been gathered in this space of Berlin and laid bare in an architecture where the unnamed remains the name which keeps still.” – Daniel Libeskind

7. The Prague House – Dancing House

Architect: Vlado Vlunic, Frank Gehry
Year: 1996
Budget: 15 Million USD
Concept: Ginger Rogers and Fred Astair – A famous dance-comedy couple from the 1930s
Key Features:

1. The masculine part of the building consists of the solid concrete tower supported on columns, its hair is made of wire mesh and glass, the female counterpart is the twisted tower made up of glass. The material and form of both towers symbolise the famous dancing couple.

2. The building houses shops, hotels, café and offices, and interactive spaces.

3. The building is supported on 99 precast columns of different configurations, a sculpture of Medusa has been erected on the top, the building flaunts and exposed façade treatment – concrete, steel and green-tinted glass.

4. The 8 storeyed building spread over a plot area of 490 m2 is an emblematic building of the Dutch Bank -Nationale-Nederlanden.

8. Walt Disney Concert Hall | Deconstructivism

Architect: Frank Gehry
Year: 2003
Budget: 274 Million USD
Concept: Boat and Sails
Key Features:

1. The building has four zones and houses a Music Centre, Grand Avenue, Two Amphitheatres (120 seaters and 300 seaters), Car Parking for 2.2k cars, Lounge and Café, A primary auditorium (2265 seater), a 3000 m2 field floor for exhibition, restaurants and service areas.

2. Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics collaborated with Gehry to design a hull shaped auditorium made of curved wooden planks and a skylight.

3. Materials used in this iconic structure include High-polished stainless steel. plywood, Douglas fir, oak, Alaskan yellow cedar, Polished brass, Travertine (from Italy), Limestone (from Iowa,) and Concrete.

4. The steel structure spans over the entire 195 feet without columns. A total of 12500 pieces of steel were used for its façade treatment.

9. Antwerp Port Office

Architect: Zaha Hadid
Year: 2016
Budget: 55 Million Euros
Concept: Bow of a ship – new floating volume, Diamonds
Key Features:

1. The design conforms to the client’s requirements, that the original building must be retained. By building the extension on top of the old building, no facade is obstructed.

2. Two types of triangulated glass – opaque and transparent have been used so as to facilitate optimum insolation, vista and curved rippling at the southern end.

3. The new volume eventually evolves into a striking sharp form at the northern end to symbolise Antwerp – the city of diamonds.

4. This bow like diamond remains at a constant 10-degree Celsius year-round, BREEAM certified and uses sustainable HVAC and water management strategies.

Zaha Hadid died shortly after the inauguration of the site.

10. Little Crooked House | Deconstructivism

Architects: Szotynscy & Zaleski
Year: 2004
Concept: fairy-tale illustrations of Jan Marcin Szancer
Key Features:

1. This 4000 m2 site houses shops, restaurants, bars, and a Polish version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is a major tourist spot and has won various accolades for its innovative design.

2. The building is made of distorted walls, windows made of soft sandstone and gently curved clear glass. The roof has a concave form along with green enamelled shingles.

3. Although its façade is remarkably vertigo-inducing, the interior spaces adhere to the comfortable design of commercial space.


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Reshmi Goswami is an inquisitive budding architect in the physical realm, a spiritual creature in her mind and a meticulously functional artist in her heart. She is obsessed with the idea of “Architecture Triumphs Over Climate Change” in the headlines !