Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The beauty of ethereal structures

Let us remember some definitions of "ethereal:"

Of or relating to the regions beyond the earth
celestial, heavenly c : unworldly, spiritual
lacking material substance : immaterial, intangible
 marked by unusual delicacy or refinement
suggesting the heavens or heaven 
Characterized by lightness and insubstantiality; 
intangible, airy
Of the celestial spheres; heavenly. 
Not of this world; spiritual. 
Chemistry: Of or relating to ether. 
light, intangible
Existing in the air; resembling air; looking blue like the sky; aerial: as, “ethereal mountains,”  Pertaining to the hypothetical upper, purer air, or to the higher regions beyond the earth or beyond the atmosphere; 
celestial; otherworldly; as, ethereal space; ethereal regions. 
tenuous; spiritlike 
characterized by extreme delicacy, as form, manner, thought, etc.

It seems to me that after some years of a continuous fashion of organicism in architecture, not the one emulating Wright´s forms, but the literal shapes of the animals and plants, there´s a movement in architecture that´s more spiritual, sustained by the lightness of materials and as a revival of the Asian beauties. The metaphor of ¨ethereal¨ in all its references, is always present.
I´ve compiled these examples from the last weeks, and there´s more to come. Enjoy.

Cantonese Opera. Bamboo structure designed by architect William Li. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Cantonese opera is one of the major categories in Chinese opera, originating in southern China's Cantonese culture. It is popular in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia. Like all versions of Chinese opera, it is a traditional Chinese art form, involving music, singing, martial arts, acrobatics, and acting.

London architecture collective Softkill Design has joined the race to build the world's first 3D printed house, announcing plans for a plastic dwelling that could be built off-site in three weeks and assembled in a single day.
The single-storey Protohouse 2.0 will be eight metres wide and four metres long and will be printed in sections in a factory. The parts will be small enough to be transported in vans and then snapped together on site.

Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto has been named as the designer of this year's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, which will be a cloud-like structure made from a lattice of steel poles.
The semi-transparent pavilion will occupy 350 square-metres of lawn outside the London gallery. Two entrances will lead inside the structure, where staggered terraces will provide seating for a central cafe.
Sou Fujimoto describes his design as "an architectural landscape" where "the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life [is] woven together with a constructed geometry".

Stockholm 2013: talks at last week's Stockholm Furniture Fair were held beneath an installation of 11,000 patterned paper sheets by Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh and Finnish artist Kustaa Saksi.
Wingårdh and Saksi staggered the pieces of paper up from the corners of the rectangular area to create a dome accessed by an arch on each side.
Steilneset memorial. By Peter Zumthor

Architect Peter Zumthor designed this memorial on an island in Norway to commemorate suspected witches who were burned at the stake there in the seventeenth century. Via dezeen magazine. 

This disappearing Church - one of the 14 winners of the "Building of the Year Awards" for 2012. See them all at

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