April 01, 2008
The Penguin House is an example of innovation in the greatest sense: making the most out of what you have. So what is the Penguin House? Well watch this video:
To sum up, my favorite quote presented here is that they are “Allowing the structures of the environment to dictate the architectural approach.” Also, I found it was interesting that: "Humans do not perceive a room as small if the ceiling is high." So to use this to they're advantage "The smaller the room, the higher the ceiling." Which in turn was accomplished by "extended site lines."
The best quote of all though was "openness of the space is truly an illusion." But was is an illusion? A trick of the photosynthetic reactions occuring inside our brains that our eyes say is sight.
Interesting thought . . . taking what's around you and adapting to that, instead of adapting your environment to yourself. Basically my thought is: as humans right now, we are still in a stage of conforming the environment around us to suite our needs, instead of establishing a balance and doing a better job of doing what we are give. I feel that Limited Fork, however loosely, supports these ideas and will explain how below.
I know it may be clique to quote a movie such as The Matrix, but I feel that one quote in particular is very true, and applies to society right now:
"It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet."
Agent Smith, a computer program tasked at keeping control of humans in case you haven't seen the movie, lets one of the humans knows that this is how he feels about the human race. In a sense I feel that this is true; not only do we deal with many different economic and social problems on a daily basis, but in our seemingly never ending search for more power, we not only end up destroying acres and acres of land, but have also undoubtedly started and are in the midst of global warming. So what does the Penguin House have to do with any of this?
The Penguin House emphasizes balance and equilibrium with the environment. Instead of altering land to make it suitable for development, the creator took the challenge of adapting the things that we do control, our building materials and techniques, to fit the dilemma of creating a comfortable house in a limited amount of material. When we think back to more primitive human cultures, there are endless examples of humans finding an equilibrium with their environment. The Eskimo's built igloos out of snow because that is what they were surrounded by; Native Americans killed buffalo to get many of the consumables that they need, but didn't kill so many as to the point that herds died out (that didn't happen until European settlers started heading West); even in prehistoric times, when 'cavemen' were around, they lived in 'caves.'
The relationship of all this is that the Penguin House, no matter how loosely or indirectly related, using Limited Fork Theory to tackle one of the biggest problems facing humans today. The dilemma of finding an equilibrium with one's surroundings was conquered by framing the situation in a way in which the human eye and human mind perceived it to be something that it wasn't. In many parts of Japan, and specifically Tokyo there is a huge problem with the limited amount of land in which people have to live. Overpopulation and high costs of living for a very small amount of space are too serious problems that many people deal with. By using the building as a canvas and correctly framing it toward certain tendencies of the human eye's perception, the house is made to look bigger than it is.
And who thought that Limited Fork could have saved the world?
“Humans do not perceive a room as small if the ceiling is high.”
“The smaller the room, the higher the ceiling.”
“Extending site lines”
“Openness of the space is truly an illusion”
Posted by ndjames at April 1, 2008 06:58 PM