Peeling back and opening up

Many projects that have a giant impact on our current human condition use transparency, a physical implication that is meant to represent openness. Millennials value openness as one of the pillars of our social and demographic makeup, along with trusting our friends and, even though we have been labeled self-absorbed, being socially consciousness. For architecture to gain success with millennials it needs to have developed a measure of trust through either being social and/or environmental conscious, giving back in some way to the community or being responsible with resources. On the other hand, openness reveals what is underneath and is welcoming and approachable from the exterior. Unlike much of any of the architecture before it, which was forceful and restricting and orderly and believed the profane was outside and the sacred inside required a cleansing upon entering, the architecture of today has moved away from this idea.

 

Instead of architectures intending to wash you in their pure and orderly forms that followed order and were therefore leading by example, projects today have taken a much different approach and let go of this order as we tend to associate it so we should also evolve our definition of orderly. This doesn’t mean order is altogether rejected, which implies some active approach standing against it. It also doesn’t mean it has disappeared. It is just defined differently and therefore needs to be codified differently and is ultimately read differently.

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Take the Barclays center in Brooklyn as an example. The snaking steel-clad facade is thin and swirling, appearing almost too thin in its girth to support its all its cantilevers and tricks, but it manages to hover and hold, a magic feat that continues to defy physics and rejects the historical associations reserved for arenas and event centers. The best part about this project is studying the plan because the form is completely demystified and you realize what you see is wrapping a very traditional program and auditorium with full 360 degree seating around a center stage in the inner ring and the assortment of vendors and support functions wrapping the outer ring. The facade wraps this traditional program and makes everything appear weightless. The plaza is enormous and the cantilever is high, but the entire facade is glass, allowing a view inside and for you to feel like you’ve entered if standing under the enclosure.

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