Final Systematic Thoughts: The Shell, The Machine and the Cell.

Dear friends and family;

The Shell, The Machine and The Cell

I would like to tell everyone a story. To be sincere, I will retell a story. The story of how buildings were, are, and should be understood and designed by human  beings. I will divide this short story into three parts: The case of the shell, the machine and the cell. These three parts are not necessarily organized synchronically, but in here I will put them in a imaginary timeline.

 The Shell – The idea of the shell is related to the primordial purpose of buildings, which is to create shelters protected from the outside elements. Once upon a time, architecture was born as a shell. It was just an instinctive thing that our humanoid predecessors had; they had to protect themselves from the elements of nature, predators et cetera. They started to inhabit the famous caves and became known as cavemen.

That was the sole function of the shelter: protection. Unfortunately even today some professionals still think we should inhabit spaces where the its only function is to isolate yourself from the elements.

The Machine Some time later some smart people started to realize that that time has passed and that buildings are not only enclosures. The mythological French-swiss architect Le Corbusier stated that a house should be a machine for living. What he means is rather clear; the building function should be enhanced by the building form.

The world famous Villa Savoye

The problem with that?  In my opinion, Corbusier’s point was novel and avant garde for his time but now it is more than clear that  his view and intentions were incomplete and somewhat going in the wrong direction.What most of what his buildings are doing is simply fighting the external elements. But only fight nature is the solution in this day and age? My answer is no. Buildings should instead take advantage of the external elements and use them for their benefit.

 The Cell In elementary school science class, I would be always impressed by the diagrams of human cells and all the mechanisms that were present in them; how permeable they were and how effiecient all the organelles worked to maintain a healthy system. In brief, cells are not  isolated entities; they are completely connected to the larger human body system and they all work together to keep a human healthy.

I believe that buildings should act like cells. They should adapt to the various types of weather conditions and respond to them in a health way. Architecture is a recent, constructed layer on our planet. It is a system in itself, and it act in conjunction to the multiple other systems of our planet. The architecture realm should not only not harm the pre-existent natural systems on Earth but also be one of them,; being able to contribute to the good functioning of this little blue sphere we inhabit.


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