Herzog And De Meuron, The Phil

Herzog And De Meuron, The Phil

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Herzog and de Meuron work together as architect partners. Their designs for most of their buildings have a common or similar nature. This nature carries out the simplicity of the shape of a box, which consists of a flat roof and large windows. This design gives the characteristics of Herzog and de Meuron’s buildings. In other words, we can say that this is their buildings’ identity. Indeed, this design is very similar to Frank Lloyd Wright’s design, which also shows today’s modern style of architecture. Their designs both carry the philosophy of “organic architecture”. This means the building is designed to fit its natural surroundings. Even the form of the building is designed to develop from its environment. So to speak, we can say that the building seems to grow out of its natural surroundings. In short, Herzog and de Meuron, as well as Frank Lloyd Wright, both design building in their natural form, assimilating its form to the environment.

As we notice the design in Herzog and de Meuron’s Plywood House shows the organic form of architecture, we can say that they believed that the architectural form must ultimately be determined in each case by the particular function of the building. Thus, the building’s environment and the type of materials employed in the structure carries out the reason why such material is chosen for the building. Clearly, plywood is the main architectural material for the Plywood House. Indeed, this is a very suitable material for the surrounding environment. The reason is because this material provides the organic feel of the countryside. In fact, this chosen material has very much influenced the shapes of the building. There are no curves, nor bay window in the design of the building, and therefore, as we can see from the plan of the building there are only straight lines of the walls of the building. (See plan of drawing) Metaphorically speaking, the building is like boxes that connect to each other. Consequently, we can say that plywood is not a very flexible material that it would be difficult to provide curves for the building.
Plywood consists of several layers, or plies, of wood thoroughly bonded to one another by glue or synthetic resins. The layers are laid with the grain in different directions, generally perpendicular to one another, and therefore, the resultant sheet of plywood is equally strong in all directions.

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In other words, plywood consists of many different woods that stack together to form a single piece of wood. This procedure results in a product that, like ordinary lumber, is extremely strong in the direction of the grain and weak in other directions. However, plywood is as durable as the wood of which it is made. Only the layers on the outside of the plywood need have hardness and good appearance; the inner layers need only be strong. Moreover, plywood made of less expensive wood that have been used to substitute for metals. Economically speaking, the very reason why Herzog and de Meuron chose this kind of material is because the cost of plywood is much cheaper than other kinds of material. Politically speaking, the reason why the architects chose this kind of material is mainly because the architects want to achieve the traditional craftsmanship of Japan as scholars have mentioned this fact. Plywood sheets are constructed in a baloon-frame construction that also enhances the taste of Japan’s traditional craftsmanship. Not only the exterior of the building is build by plywood; the interior of the Plywood House is also constructed with plywood. Even the shutters of the building are built with plywood. The reason is because this gives a more organic feeling of the building and its surrounding. It seems like one is living inside of a tree. Indeed, this is very organic. In additional to the fact that the reason of using plywood carries out the concept of traditional craftsmanship of Japan, there is another reason why Herzog and de Meuron chose this material. Socially speaking, it is the believe that “wood” is associated with nature, and therefore, the building can assimilate itself with nature and also becomes part of the surrounding. Not like concrete or brick that would make the building standout against nature, by contrast wood respect the countryside environment so that it provides a comforting atmosphere for the residence.

The relationship of my addition design with the original design has created a harmony of the continuous form of the building. I do not want to extent the building to the right side, following the direction of the original. (See plan drawing) On the contrary, I wanted my addition to go in a different direction. The reason is because this will give the building a feeling of separation from the other part of the building. However, I do not want the addition to be so separated, and therefore, I created a shape that follows the form of the original. Hence, this harmonizes the original design with my own. The reason why I do not want the addition to extent back behind the house is because I believe the need for closeness is necessary for whole of the building. In other words, I design the addition to carry back to the main entrance direction so that the building as a whole would not be too large. It would not cover so much an area. Conversely, my design provides closeness for the residence, centralizing the building instead of extending it further away. (Please see plan again)

The addition was created at the right side of the house as you walk into the main entrance. This separation of area allows the owner and the guests have more privacy. Again this addition also allows the plan to remain having a continuous form. The style and idea of the addition is very similar to the original house; this allows the original styles and the idea that the architect wanted to achieve remains.

On the whole, I believe my design continued the development of the original building. This has further continued the form as well as the organic architectural philosophy of Herzog and de Meuron.
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