This project consists in a series of architecture models made of fabrics and metal frames investigating how can architecture can be soft, made of thin and flexible materials. We normally experience architecture as surfaces surrounding the space where we move, boundaries defining areas made of air. What if we concentrate on these surfaces in architecture, instead of its mass?
We imagined a soft architecture, in which walls and slabs are made of textile planes hanging from thin structures, a 2D fabric architecture, challenging building conventions and exploring unexpected spatial possibilities. Traditional architectural logic and constructive principles are inverted to provide warmer feelings, flexibility and more space for living; between the surfaces, air becomes a building material, a floating volume, bringing together freedom in movements and space. Natural forces such as gravity and light play an important role shaping the space and allowing for a wider range of emotions.
We often work with architecture models, which are not intended as miniatures but as 1:1 objects to be experienced through touch, movement and intimacy. The models create a collection of ideas about soft architecture, a physical constellation in which each piece is both unique and interconnected with the others.
By questioning obvious characteristics of architecture, such as stability, solidity and weight we are breaking a series of taboos about the core of the practice itself. Is it time to consider unstable architecture a success? Of course this project is partly an imaginary experiment and a provocation, but sometimes by flipping the common sense one can find unusual yet intriguing solutions to work with. We don’t propose solutions to constructive problems, neither to scale up our models to become real buildings, but our goal for this project is to introduce soft architecture as part of a shared imaginary about space, to transform it from an impossible statement to a possibility with emotional and practical implications.
We started by drawing each model on a board, focusing on just one aspect of this constructive softness at a time, in order to increase its conceptual power. To understand proportions and dimensions of each piece we worked with paper mock-ups, which allowed both for designing the metal frames and the soft screens. Then we built a set of structural metal frames for each model, choosing different profiles to adapt to the fabric laying, most of the frames can be dismounted and flattened. Fabrics from Kvadrat will complete the project, through a selection of transparencies, consistencies, thicknesses tailored for each model. The metal will remain untreated, its coldness and glow contrasting and enhancing the warmer and soft characteristics of the fabrics. The metal frames look like minimal hand-drawn lines, to which fabric surfaces add depth, volume and shadows. Every model is completed by a short sharp text, a question to which the model answers. The project has been supported by Statens Kunstfond for its realisation.