An organic architecture adopts the physical and psychological characteristics of the environment as a reference when producing habitable spaces for human beings, so that the world is balanced between the development of the human habitat and the natural one.
The result is a unique composition. This architectural current was born in Europe in 1940 with the appearance of the crisis of rationalism. Some of its bases are the predominance of utility over ornamentation, the use of industrial resources to improve and balance the environment and the importance of the plant.
The movement accepts many of the premises of rationalism, such as the freedom to plan, the predominance of the useful over the merely ornamental, the incorporation into architecture of the advances of the industrial era, etc., but it tries to avoid some of the errors in which rationalism falls and to bring new values to architecture.
What is Organic Architecture?
Organic architecture is a stylistic or aesthetic movement, which in short, is an architectural concept that promotes the harmony of human settlement with the natural organic environment. This is achieved by adapting a design approach that takes into account the natural environment, so that organic design and construction, furnishings and atmosphere become a much more unified and intertwined whole composition that adapts to human amenities.
An abstract organic architecture is also part of an expression that refers to a current of architecture resulting from the work of the theoretical architect of the twentieth century, Frank Lloyd Wright, which is to consider or conceive of a habitat as a living organism between nature and the environment.
Organic and rationalist architecture is a thought that must be taken into account in all aspects of man's life. Through the psychological characteristics prior to the first function of the discipline as useful for the production of living spaces by man. The concept of organicism is based on the balance between human development and the natural world. Thus, buildings, real estate and furnishings are part of a composition, and not as taxable resources for landscape architecture.
From a more conceptual point of view, Frank Lloyd Wright's organic architecture posited that housing influenced the lifestyle and personality of its occupants. A healthy and ecological construction allows people to care more about their environment. Thus a new architectural concept was born: organic architecture.
The concept and history of organic architecture and the repercussions of organic architecture is more of a philosophy than a true architectural style, which was developed by the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the first half of the 20th century, who described his naturally integrated approach as a new architectural paradigm. Wright was an attentive observer of the natural world, so he found inspiration in the styles and processes of nature to build a thriving and sustainable ecosystem.
Throughout his career, Frank Lloyd Wright has constructed nearly 400 buildings according to the principles of organic architecture. Among his most important works are the famous Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the Marin County Community Center in California, the Fallingwater House in Pennsylvania and the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles.
His goal was to design habitats that would meet basic human needs while respecting the environment and living organisms.
As a teenager, Wright worked on a farm, and over time became so fascinated by the natural brilliance of the place, the diversity of domesticated crops, the untouched forests and open spaces in a Wisconsin river valley. It was then that Wright discovered what he later called "organic architecture."
No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together, each happy of the other" Frank Lloyd Wright.
What does Organic Architecture aim for?
The fundamentals of organic architecture are commonly seen as a translation of Wright's "all-inclusive" idea of organic design. Materials, structures, patterns and principles of order, in general, tend to be repeated throughout the building, making them more holistic and intentional.
The manifesto of organic architecture refers not only to the literal relationship of the building to nature, but also to the way in which the building design is implemented to promote the unification of the building with nature as a "unified organism."
Modern organic architecture reflects various organicist sustaining elements, from windows and doors to floors and furniture. Each element appears to be in relationship with the others, reflecting the symbiotic order of nature. By blending interiors and exteriors and maintaining a harmonious atmosphere, organic architecture strives and aims to unite human habitation with nature.
In organic building: It is not just a design as an individual housing or a rigid piece of object. However, the principles of organic construction are part of the design. Construction and nature cannot be considered as separate elements. Nature and natural materials must be respected (for example, wood must be wood and not some other derivative).
Organic design in architecture cannot be bad, since any organic building is being inspired by nature and built with the principles of organic architecture.
However, the designs of an organic architecture with curves must be free, flexible and adaptable, so that the buildings are perfectly integrated to their environment. That is to act in quality and elegance to the natural elements in organic architecture.
Houses built according to the principles of organic architecture in housing combine modernity, comfort and ecology. They are designed to provide the best possible energy efficiency while ensuring optimal functionality for the occupants. Natural, ecological and durable, they are carefully insulated and protected from external aggressions (differences in temperature, humidity, air, etc.).
In this way, they reduce energy consumption and considerably limit CO2 emissions. A house built according to the principles of organic architecture therefore meets ecological and environmental criteria.
In the book "The Cause of Architecture", published in 1908, Wright highlights some important elements of organicity:
- Simplicity and restfulness are important qualities in assessing the value of architecture. Therefore, it is necessary to simplify the design of the structure and limit the number of distinct rooms, rethinking them as open spaces.
- Doors, windows and furniture should blend in with the ornamentation of the structure.
- A building should appear to come from its location and the structure should appear as if it was created by nature itself.
- The color of the fields and woods should inspire the main color of the building to express a natural aesthetic.
It doesn't have to be necessary to use naturally sourced raw materials in every corner of your design. It's more about the perception of how the natural material is produced and what it represents. They are available, convertible, sustainable and, most importantly, contain life or help it thrive.
Most of the early concepts of organic architecture and its features used unbridled natural resources such as wood and stone. Even concrete slabs and smooth building surfaces are broken down into smaller tiles so that they have natural textures rather than being totally smooth.
Like the philosophy of natural fabrics and how they can be looked for in modern material, glass can be one of the examples of organic architecture that allows visual access to the outside and breaks the sense of a series of closed cubes. It is also important that such glass does not divide the texture of the material it cuts and has to slide a smooth transition between inside and outside.
The very interesting organic architecture is based on the principle that a habitat should bring harmony between man, nature and the environment in which it is built. To this end, the architectural concept favors the use of natural materials such as wood, stone, clay, earth and even foliage, which are perfectly integrated into the environment. For example, there are green roofs, timber frames, etc. that are strong, durable and environmentally friendly.
Organic and geometric architecture is characterized by lines inspired by organic shapes, such as trees, leaves, waterfalls, etc. The design evokes natural elements, thus integrating more easily into the environment, while remaining modern.
Mexican Organic Architecture
Mexican architect Javier Senosiain, one of the world's most famous exponents of organic architecture in Mexico, is now known as one of the leading proponents of "organic architecture," which promotes harmonious spaces between human habitation and nature. The architectural style that he plays not only encompasses the exterior areas of a building, but also includes interior spaces, decoration, surrounding buildings and landscapes, and even furnishings.
While some of Senosiain's projects have been inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Gaudí, Rudolph Steiner, nature art and other Mexican folk art, Organic House remains his most personal project to date (as it was built in his family's home).
The architect decided to expand and connect the first section of his house to the second by designing a tunnel when his family became too large to live in it. At the top of the structure is a studio with an expansive view of Los Remedios National Park and a semi-open terrace below it, resulting in a shark-shaped outdoor structure.
The Organic House is a building that shows the connection between man and nature while exalting organic architecture today and around the world.
Most Important Works of Organic Architecture
In this aspect, organicism abandons one of the postulates of rationalism, creating instead, when well interpreted, juicier and more humane realizations. The works of the great organic architects are much more personal and difficult to imitate, so it is more appropriate to speak of an approach than an organic style in architecture. The following works are just a sample of how this peculiar architecture is landed.