Humans have an inherent desire to connect with nature, and today’s architects have found amazing ways to blend buildings with their surroundings. This blending can occur in numerous ways, from buildings that adapt to their surroundings, the use of natural elements and building materials, and integration of outdoor features for occupants to enjoy.
Frank Lloyd Wright, who coined the term “organic architecture” before it became the commonality it is today, was a master. From an excellent description of his iconic Fallingwater house in Garden Collage:
Rather than just plopping a building on the ground as if it could have been anywhere, for Wright, every structure has its own “grammar” and a unique relationship to its surroundings. Over the course of his career, he designed about 800 buildings — 380 of them were built, and 280 are still standing today. Yet, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater perhaps most iconically embodies the architect’s principles of organic architecture. Fallingwater is so unique in its form that it might not even look like a building at first — where’s the entrance? The layers upon layers of innovative structuring make it one of the most groundbreaking works of architecture in the twentieth century.
The Wenchuan Earthquake Memorial Museum in China’s Sichuan province was built following the deadly 2008 earthquake that left nearly 70,000 deceased. Following this tragedy, the faculty at Tongi University was commissioned by the Chinese government to build the memorial. See the images and more on the description below via designboom:
Designed by Cai Yongjie, the Wenchuan Earthquake Memorial Museum takes the form of a ruptured landscape. Large subterranean buildings are topped with green roofs, ensuring that the complex adopts an unobtrusive presence. Gaps in this man-made terrain provide access inside the museum, while simultaneously connecting the entirety of the site. Dramatically angled walls are made from weathering steel, creating a series of enclosed external spaces that contain benches for contemplation and reflection.
Cladding buildings in mirrors can also effectively camouflage a building with its environment, essentially making them disappear from view as the outdoor environment is reflected. One example is the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre in Australia, which was named Building of the Year in 2012 by the Australian Institute of Architects. The building also has embedded solar panels in the façade and a rainwater harvesting system, according to WorldBuild 365.
“House on a stream,” located in Alibag, Mumbai and designed by firm Architecture Brio, is an amazing example of architecture letting nature take charge. The home is built to accommodate a seasonal stream that flows through the site. Via Architectural Digest:
The awe-inspiring residence that boasts a bold concrete façade sits within the woods like a sculpture. The sprawling design enables the house to reach out organically and connect with nature in a tangible manner. For example, the master bedroom is connected to the rest of the house via a bridge that spans across the stream. The overall ambiance of the place is serene and somehow melodious. It appears as if this house has made its peace with nature.