Here I will go back a little in the design process and address the question:
Why do I want my building to emulate the feeling of fabric?
We can see that animals thrive in a more natural environment. Looking at the example of Burthold Lubetkin’s penguin pool in London Zoo; the idea was to create an environment that would accentuate the characteristics of the penguins, yet it was found that the penguins’ mating habits were affected negatively by this ‘ideal’ environment. The penguins preferred the habitat that was truer to nature. This is only one of many examples where the unnatural environment of zoo enclosures has been shown to cause breakdowns and abnormalities in animals’ behavioural patterns, including higher levels of aggression, compulsion and apathy. If the surroundings affects animals’ behaviour, could this very same theory not be applied to humans and their habitat?
Many studies of the same nature have been made on humans. It is found that in urbanised, unnatural environments many of the basic instincts of humans also break down. There is evidence of increased levels of mental illnesses, especially schizophrenia, within the urban environment, becoming more apparent the nearer to the centre of the city the studies are taken. Violent behaviour has also seen to increase in the same manner. (Baum A., Singer J E and Valins S (Eds) 1978 Advances in Environmental Psychology: Vol I – The Urban Environment: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.;New York- summarised in psychology4all.com/environmentalpsychology.htm)
Through our exposure to new technology it seems we have moved towards creating our world in the most unnatural way possible, yet our creation of new technology is no different to the adaptability of animals. New technology is something that needs to be embraced and challenged to the extent of its capabilities. Reinforced concrete is not naturally straight, it is straight because we have made it this way- why then, can it not be any shape that we want it to be? Building materials are merely tools to create the things we want to create, we can manipulate them to mimic aspects of the natural environment we lack within cities.
Straight lines and angles are not the way forward for architecture. We, as humans, are natural beings, we respond to our environments just as animals do. Nature does not have straight lines. Our habitats should therefore be created with this in mind.
My building is a workshop for the hand production of fabric. Those who work with fabric do it because they like it, they like the folds fabric makes, the way it moves, the texture of it and even the way it sounds. It only makes sense that a building where the material is to be created, a place where these people should get the most sense of the make up of textiles, should have these same properties.
Currently, I address this through form with the use of fabric formed concrete. This can be manipulated to mimc the folds and texture of the fabric but it lacks the movement of fabric. Unable to use fabric itself, due to the weather conditions of the site, how can I incorporate the movement into the building?
One solution could come from the windows, at the moment this part of the building’s design does not coordinate with the function or the form of the building. It needs to be secure and airtight, to prevent heat loss and the risk of theft, but the glass itself can be manipulated. I will examine the ways I can do this in the following journal entries.