A concept in architecture is an approach taken towards a good design. Conceptual architecture is characterized by ideas that inspire design to expand and go beyond the discipline of construction. This introduces us to a category of buildings that aren’t held under the conventionally known ‘architect as a master-builder’ model, instead, this style is driven by craft and construction as the guiding principles. The conceptually evolved building accentuates the guiding forces of the underlying idea which is primarily represented through drawings, renderings, or art installations. Even the modernist architects supported the understanding of design through the presence of concept, as quoted by Louis Khan on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright –
“It doesn’t work, it doesn’t have to work. Wright had the shape conceived long before he knew what was going into it. I claim that is where architecture starts, with the concept.”
Conceptual architecture abandons the mimeograph style of modern architecture by bringing uniqueness and originality to the structure. Conceptualism is observing the most obvious things under a whole new light.
Here is a list of five visionary projects envisioned under Conceptual Architecture:
1. Self-Sufficient Skyscraper
This design proposal entry is an honorable mention in the international architecture competition Skyhive 2020 SKYSCRAPER CHALLENGE by an Italian architect Piero Lissoni. It imagines a vertical garden city among the skylines of NYC. But it isn’t simply another skyscraper, it is an absolute ecosystem that integrates architecture and nature in this new reality of the post-Covid era. It is designed to provide energy and resources along with services like school, sports, and a hospital.
The building inspiration is from the natural elements of a tree, as the building not only collects energy from the sun and wind to convert into electricity but also absorbs water from the rain like a tree to be used inside the building.
2. 360-degree infinity pool
Infinity London is a concept unveiled by Compass Pools for an all-sided infinity pool atop a London skyscraper which will be accessed by a submarine-style door. Instead of stairs connecting the outside of the pool, a spiral staircase rotates and rises through the water to provide access to a seamless view. It is the first building in the world to incorporate an all-dimension infinity pool containing 600,000 liters of water on top of a 220-meter-high and 55-story skyscraper.
The clear acrylic walls on all four sides of the pool along with the transparent bottom act as a skylight. The design proves to be sustainable as the pool water will be heated using waste energy from the building’s air conditioning system.
3. Notre Dame Glass Roof Reconstruction
Following the devastating fire at Paris’ Notre Dame, Miysis Studio was one of the numerous architecture practices to visualize the reinstallation of the cathedral’s destroyed roof and spire. Designed to be the right balance of history and future, the studio combined a replica of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc’s lost spire of the 19th century with a glazed roof.
While the spire would be reconstructed, the 13th-century marvel would crown a wood, steel, and glass roof which would further function as a greenhouse for visitors. The roof would match the dimensions and volumes of the original lost element. The vision was to be respectful and a bit creative simultaneously.
4. Preikestolen Boutique Hiking Hotel
Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio designed a concept boutique hotel upon a cliff edge of 600 meters above the Lysefjorden fjord in Norway. The reason for the specific location is to evoke the thrill of hiking in the mountains and experiencing living on and beyond the edge. The entrance of the hotel is from the top of the flat cliff which leads down inside the hotel.
The nine suites have a panoramic view from the balconies and a long, narrow-cantilevered glass swimming pool hangs suspended over the cliff to give a gravity-free environment to the whole ordeal. It is a design for the more adventurous ones, wanting to live the thrill beyond the edge of a cliff or balcony, but rather the edge of a pool hovering over a sheer drop.
Twine, a conceptual house visualized by designer Antony Gibbon is a spectacular example of a twisting ribbon roof sitting within the rolling hills. Twine is inspired by a series of organic forms giving rippling twists and curvature to the concrete. The movement of the form is aesthetical and practical as the series of arches beneath the upturned concrete encloses the glass wall to give a panoramic view of the hillside landscape.
The house is divided in two with lounge and kitchen areas along with bedrooms located on either side of the arch. The terrace has a sunken circular amphitheater facing a fire pit and the triangular rip-like openings form the entrances to both sides of the longitudinal house. The rustic nature of the surrounding is a key balance to the strong form of the design.
Conceptual architecture isn’t just another building you walk into and forget, instead, the imprint on the human mind leaves one tongue-tied. A concept gives a soul to the building and turns them into architecture.