Week 8 Response: Fractals in architecture

This week we learned about technicity, electronic arts, fractals, robotics, computing, electroacoustic and a-life. What intrigues me the most is the fractals part of the lecture. After the lecture I decided to look for more information about fractals in architecture.

Fractals are defined as “infinitely complex self-organizing, self-similar patterns in nature or image fragments or geometric shapes replicable and sub-dividable across different scales.” (Lisa Cartwright vis159 winter 2015 Week 8 lecture slides.)

Night time view of  the Lideta Mercato
Night time view of the Lideta Mercato
The blue-print of the architectural design of Lideta Mercato
The blue-print of the architectural design of Lideta Mercato

The Lideta Mercato is a shopping mall designed by Xavier Vilalta in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is a building  uses the design of fractal geometry inspired by the traditional and beautiful patterns found on Ethiopian women’s dresses.

Interestingly, when designing this building, he was hugely fascinated and inspired by Ron Eglash ‘s African Fractals and his ted talk.(Which both were mentioned in our lecture.)

Another example is the Simmons Hall designed by Steven Holl.

Simmons Hall

When making this design, Steven Holl was inspired by a natural sponge which has a fractal distribution of holes.

A natural sponge
A natural sponge
The blueprint
The similarity in structure between a natural sponge and the Simmons Hall’s design.

Fractal design usually uses algorithm because it involves a lot of repetitions in different scales of the same thing so as to form the intricate but yet simple pattern nowadays. It also has this simplistic but powerful aesthetics as well. I personally think that fractal design in architecture is a very demonstrating example of art and technology blending perfectly with each other well.

–Tian Wu






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