“There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?”- Zaha Hadid. The practice of architecture was traditionally performed as designing and constructing straight linear walls enclosing a space. A practice based on the construction of solid matter. The concept of fluidity in architecture breaks these traditional norms and promotes a design that excites you and takes you into an inspiring space. The building’s traditional interpretation is disrupted by the flowing appearance. Fluid forms have become associated with the future and progress because of their novelty as an aesthetic. The idea of fluidity has become extremely pertinent to the profession today as flowing, transcendental forms, continuous expanses, and flawless linkages between adjacent spaces are growing more popular day by day.

Fluid in architecture refers to seamlessness where there is a movement within the space without any obstruction. It gives a feeling of being in motion while being in a solid, closed matter. It encompasses factors such as curves, flow, dynamic nature, and flexibility. The dynamic nature of fluidity in architecture ensures new and creative ideas aiming to bring a change in the world; The flexibility aspect governs the fact that a particular design can change and is perceived by the users differently.  

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Nordpark Cable Railway_©Zaha Hadid Architects

Form follows function has always been a traditional approach where the designs are formulated by giving proper functions to each space and the form is designed after that. But, in the case of the concept of fluidity in architecture, it is the form that plays a dominating role and the function revolves around it. The idea behind this concept is very simple, be experimental and design unique. It aims to broaden the horizon for designing and thinking beyond a certain set of rules and patterns. 

Another important aspect of this concept is the heavy and intricate use of the software. To create surprising settings using shapes and locations that are typically challenging to imagine, instead of using a pen and paper, software became the means to create, examine, and analyse those unforeseen conditions. The software allows for the quick creation of 3D  models and allows users to monitor modifications as they are made, giving architects an advantage. To understand this concept in-depth, let’s look at some of the incredible works based on fluidity in architecture by pioneers of this field:

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

Architect Frank Gehry says: “Fluid architecture is like jazz, in which you can improvise and create something new.” The Guggenheim Museum is a combination of complicated, whirling forms and alluring materials that responds to a complex programme and an industrial surrounding, situated on the bank of the Nervión River in Bilbao, Spain. The architect Frank Gehry sought to create a design which is an art in itself.

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Guggenheim museum_©Flickr cincinnato

ROLEX Learning Centre, Lausanne, Switzerland

Located in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Rolex learning centre is a university centre on the campus of EPFL/ École Polytechnique fédérale, designed by the Japanese architects SANNA. An extremely creative building, with smooth slopes and terraces at different levels that travels around several interior “patios”. 

The supports of its intricate curved roof are invisible to the human eye which demands some revolutionary construction techniques.

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Rolex Learning centre_©Alain Herzog

Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan

Generating a continuous relation between nature and built form with a fluid-like structure, Heyder Aliyev centre is in contrast with the immovable and monumental style of Soviet architecture. The design contract for this cultural centre was given to Zaha Hadid Architects after a competition in 2007. The fluid-like design of the centre blends the interior and exterior, wrapping around the landscape by encapsulating specific Center operations. It serves as the ideal illustration of how nature itself serves as the primary source of inspiration for fluid architecture.

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Heyder Aliyev Centre_©Hufton+crow
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Heyder Aliyev Centre_©Hufton+crow

Cairo Expo City, Cairo, Egypt

Inspired by the topography of Nile valley, the fluid design of Cairo expo city carves out large exhibition spaces and conference centres making it a national project for Egypt.  “Along the great rivers of the region, most particularly the Nile, there is a powerful dynamic – a constant flow between the water and the land – which extends to incorporate the neighbouring buildings and landscapes. For the Cairo Expo City design, we worked to capture that seamlessness and fluidity in an urban architectural context.”- Zaha Hadid.

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Cairo expo city_©Zaha Hadid Architects

The idea of a flowing building is incredibly futuristic. In India, it has yet to be found and appreciated. However, more and more individuals are becoming aware of contemporary designs and favour them. It is important to carefully analyse the entire green and sustainable architecture trend. Considering the current trend, fluid architecture is now unprofitable, but over the long run, it could produce a myriad of advantages. Fluid architecture might be the solution to the modern urban approach since the structure is structurally adaptive, capable of expanding and remaining stable, and capable of doing so in response to climatic changes.

References:

  1. Idj.journals.ekb.eg. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://idj.journals.ekb.eg/article_164301_0ec8ced23fed40905068078ac59c26ed.pdf> [Accessed 10 July 2022].
  2. Architecture, F., 2022. Fluid Architecture. [online] Issuu. Available at: <https://issuu.com/zhinipoh/docs/170111_dissertation_upload2> [Accessed 10 July 2022].
  3. fluidity, P., 2022. Parametric architecture – Total fluidity. [online] Issuu. Available at: <https://issuu.com/mriganknath/docs/parametric_architecture_-_total_flu> [Accessed 10 July 2022].
  4. Artforum.com. 2022. NEW WAVE: FLUID ARCHITECTURE. [online] Available at: <https://www.artforum.com/print/201503/new-wave-fluid-architecture-50277> [Accessed 10 July 2022].
Author

An architect by profession, Soumya is a history enthusiast and an avid traveller who loves to capture buildings and pen down her architectural perspectives. She has a keen interest in analyzing the role of architecture in building a city as a whole. She believes in designing spaces where people can unravel and compose themselves.

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