Blinded by Straight LinesDate: June 29, 2020
Straight lines are a rather common and expected form related to building and remodeling. It makes sense as shapes constructed of straight lines are easier for us to predict the structural load and to estimate the costs for production.
When going through the design process of a remodel or new build I feel it is rare for anyone to consider building with curved lines. Curved structures will likely require more material, more labor and include more challenges throughout the build process. So although the idea may seem appealing, it is easily eliminated when you (the homeowner) learn of the potential costs to build an “outside the box” design.
I recently listened to a 99% Invisible podcast about the Austrian artist and designer Friedensreich Hundertwasser wherein he challenges the commonality of straight lines in architecture. Hundertwasser felt that the environment that we build and live in needed to incorporate more curved structures and incorporate more natural and organic elements. He felt that just as we are organic and natural beings we should create a surrounding that is equally organic or in tune with the surrounding natural spaces.
Your Line or Mine
To build or remodel your home into something similar to a Hundertwasser building would obviously be a challenging idea when considering the neighborhood you live in and how it would present you as a person amongst your neighbors. Being different isn’t easy. Changing or challenging how things are viewed isn’t easy. What is considered art is never perceived the same way for all. I recall one of my first architecture classes where we were asked to design a gas station. Seems pretty simple and bland but for beginning “want to be architects” it was rather challenging. I remember the first thought I had and went with was that it had to be a round building. Why? Not sure why. It certainly didn’t have any functional (or buildable) bonus. I think it was similar to Hundertwassers view and the title of this post. We are surrounded by straight lined buildings everywhere we turn and the rarity of something built to be in a more organic form is or was obliviously more appealing.
Curve My Enthusiasm
I’m not saying that my view on building and designing has shifted to a more organic standpoint like Hundertwasser. I love to observe the beauty of straight line buildings as well. I love to point out buildings or rooms I see that have exceptionally clean lines and a symmetry that is impossible not to notice. It is an art form unto itself. I am saying that it is worth considering designing and building different than what is common and expected especially bringing in more natural elements and flow.
If you want to get a taste of design like this locally, I strongly suggest you attend an event at the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown. Venture to the upstairs bathroom and take a look at the award winning design!
The quickest way from point A to point B is a straight line but what’s the rush?