Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Playing with blocks. (part 4)

Blocks inspire a simple desire to build and create. How we do this can take on any number of strategies, but the most instinctual is simply to stack and group blocks together. In architecture and interior design, the resulting structures and spaces are additive forms - forms created when pieces or other forms are added to a base, original form. Additive forms can be accomplished in many ways, but for this post I will be focusing upon one.

Clustered forms are arguably the most common additive forms. Primary solids are grouped, attached, or overlapping each other to some degree to create one complete structure. Typically, no one form is dominant over the others, as in the centralized form. Some examples of these can be seen in modern interpretations of English Gothic Revival houses, or some Victorian Queen Anne or Stick Style houses. These clustered forms most truly resemble the little structures we assemble with blocks in our youth.

Image credit: Tamco Building Products, Inc. Advertisement, Lamarite slate. Architectural Digest. May 2007. 193.
The above images underscore the "building block" aesthetic I spoke of - here is a chunky triangular pediment piece, here is a cube, there is a cone. Clustered forms don't have to have this charming, haphazard structure, but it is one of the easiest to achieve. Taken to the interior, a clustered form could create what I would call a "layered" space, and as long as the concept is strong, designing for such an interior would be as interesting a task as the result would be for the client: visually appealing, blending in with the rest of the space almost unobtrusively, and always exciting.

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