Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Morphosis….The dominant representatives of The new age of Architectural Envelopes

Inspiration sketch Gallery (ISG) by Eli Inbar– 

What is a building envelope? 

The building envelope is the physical separator between the interior and the exterior.

It was not always been like that…. 

It was Le Corbusier that helped us liberate the envelope from the internal structure with his “Dominos houses”.

Domino House (1914–1915) is an open floor plan structures , supported by reinforced concrete columns meaning that the floor space was free to be configured into rooms without concern for supporting walls and the physical expression of the building envelope, is subject to the interpretation of Its Architect.

 This is an old sketch of mine, showing contemporary expressions to Le Corbusier’s “Dominos houses”.

Eliinbar’s Sketches, contemporary expressions to Le Corbusier’s “Dominos houses”.

Since  Le Corbusier…. architects made number of measures for total separation between the building envelope and its internal structure.

In this post I will show three leading architects taking advantage of the evolution that accorded in building envelopes,

Each one of them expresses in his building ,his own -“Envelopes Design Strategy”

Zaha Hadid’s  -“Shell Structures envelopes”

From  eliinbar’s Sketchbook 2011  , Zaha Hadid’s Inspiration Sources

Zaha Hadid Architect

mixed-use building Budapest,Hungary

 March 2007     

Zaha Hadid is inspired by the Budapest’s rich architectural heritage and Thin-shell structures


Frank Gehry’s  -“Envelopes Design Strategy”

From eliinbar’s Sketchbook  2011 Learning from Frank Gehry

Frank GehryArchitect

 Disney Concert Hall typical Floor Plan

 Los Angeles California 1987-2003

Frank Gehry Architect

 Disney Concert Hall

Thanks Martin for this picture ,of the built structure

From  Eliinbar’s sketches 2011  , Learning from Frank Gehry

What did I learn from Frank Gehry’s -“Envelopes Design Strategy”? 

Gehry is very aware to the “needs” of the building,like once said Le Corbusier “a house is a machine for living”. 

He designs buildings with effective floor plans 

He does not give up his desire for creativity and uniqueness.

Gehry develops his “Envelopes Design Strategy and uses his architect skills to realize his architectural vision…”sculptural buildings”

Thom Mayne founder of  Los Angeles firm Morphosis – “screen sculptural envelopes”

From eliinbar’s sketchbook 2012  Morphosis’s Floor plan strategy

Typical floor plan of the Sciences Building of Cooper Union College in New York designed by the Morphosis firm

Thom Mayne  founder of Los Angeles firm Morphosis

Sciences Building of Cooper Union college

in New York. 2009

From  eliinbar’s sketchbook 2012  Morphosis’s Floor plan strategy

So Morphosis ”floor plan  strategy” is now clear….  

1. Simple cube-shaped building with an Interior core designed by the principles of the “sponge concept” (you are invited to sea my post about Steven Holl’s “sponge concept”).

2. And a sculptural façade created by a steel screen fluctuates in its offset from the cube. (You are invited to sea my post about the three dimensional “Mashrabiya Envelopes” and some other of my relevant posts listed at the end).

I think we can summarize this post with the following statement:

“The most dominant characteristic of contemporary architecture, is liberating the envelope from its internal building

You are invited to visit my relevant posts:

Conscious Inspiration Facades 2

The”Mashrabiya Envelopes” – Conscious Inspiration

Conscious Inspiration “Facades”


In my Facebook

12 Responses to “Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Morphosis….The dominant representatives of The new age of Architectural Envelopes”

  1. Justin Lin Says:

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  2. I really tend to agree with every aspect that ended up being authored
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  4. jakejohnson Says:

    This looks cool. Thanks for posting about building envelopes.

  5. I visited the Morphosis building in New York that looks great on paper. But Thom (at least in this building) is not in the same league with Zaha and Frank. The central staircase does not go through the entire building but inexplicably skips a couple of floors. Did he mean to do that or did Thom drop the ball because he run out of money?

    Also the metal screen effectively eliminates cell phone transmission. Did he really mean to do that or did he again drop the ball?

    It has some cool aspects but it is not a complete building. It is dead has no life, no oxygen. I hope Morphosis in California has better buildings. The one in New York is a damn embarrassment. I was very saddened.

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