Architecture that keeps up with the times is what you will find.
Curved Architecture: BendingPublished by LannooAgata, a historian of art and design, wrote the book. It explores the artistic feats and aesthetic achievements that go into designing buildings with arching and turning shapes.
More than 60 buildings are featured in this book. These include a cloudscape opening up to the heavens in China’s Hainan Province and a Belgian brick house wrapped around the forest it occupies.
The introduction to the book reads: ‘Whether expressed in objects of everyday use or buildings, rounded design seems more communicative, natural and appealing, evoking positive emotions.’
Mazur adds: ‘A challenge in the construction process and quite expensive to build, curving architecture has been and will always be a statement in the pursuit of testing limits and envisioning some of the most striking and original structures ever.’
Scroll down to discover some of the remarkable structures that are bending the rules of architecture…
BUMPERS OAST KENT, UK: “Bumpers Oast” is an updated version of the traditional oast home. This home was designed and built by Acme in London, Mazur writes. Mazur explained that an oasthouse was used traditionally to dry hops during the beer-brewing process. Acme took inspiration from these structures when designing the building. It has five towers and is covered in clay-tile. The author says that inside, “many pieces furniture are also bent and built into the spaces”.
COURBES RESIDENTIAL BUILDER, PARIS–COLOMBES FRANCE: Built in 2019, the Courbes Residential Building was designed by Christophe Rousselle Architecte. The building contains 134 apartments, each with 22m2 (236sq ft) of outdoor space. Mazur states that the wavy floor surfaces, which are clearly visible due to the glass balustrades around each level, give the illusion of movement. He also says: “The sinusoid line also playfully reflect sunlight throughout the day. At the same time the building also has transparency.” According to Mazur, the building offers a high-quality lifestyle that ensures comfort and intimacy for residents without sacrificing the architectural aesthetic.
BOSJES CHAPEL WESTERN CAP, SOUTH AFRICIA: The stunning design is the brainchild of London-based architectural firm Steyn Studio. Mazur says: “The striking landscape of South Africa with its majestic mountains inspired this stunningly sculptural design for Bosjes Chapel. The chapel is set in the heart of a South African winery. Concrete-cast shell is used for the roof. Because it was placed on a single glass structure, its curved roof looks like it is floating above ground. Mazur added: “Due to its unique shape, colour and materials, it stands out against an extensive landscape and appears to be in motion.
RODE HOUSE CHILOE ISLAND CHILE: ‘Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen were well-known for designing minimalist structures with a Brutalist aesthetic. This house is strikingly modern and uses timber to great effect. Mazur writes about this remarkable property that was built in 2017. It is built on top of a slope, and the house looks out to sea. Mazur explains that the entire curved structure is asymmetrical. On one side, it acts as a fortified, massive refuge. From the other, it looks like a pitched roof with no support walls. According to the book, the interiors have an unusual form with the curving ceiling which seems almost floating above the living areas.
CLOUDSCAPE HAIKOU HAINAN, CHINA: Built in 2020, Cloudscape of Haikou includes a public-access library and reading area, as well as a cafeteria, restrooms, nursery rooms, and a roof-garden. Mad Architects was responsible for designing it. It was commissioned in a campaign to revive Haikou’s coastline through the development of cultural public space. It is situated on an area at the edge of the landscape and overlooks the ocean, Mazur wrote. He also added that architects liken the experience of concrete sculptural architecture to reading a book. The concrete provides an escape into the unknown as well as a sense of adventure from daily life. According to Mazur, the shape is a cave-like in appearance with no straight lines and sharp angles. It also features circular openings that let in natural light.
Ehka Studio created this stunning dwelling in Singapore, the STILETTO HOUSE. According to Mazur, the firm was instructed to design ‘a “curvy” house with maximum internal space’ – and this was the end result. She says that “Stiletto house celebrates the beauty and freedom of free-flowing shapes” and adds: “The floor slabs, sculpted roof and dynamic design make this home very playful and lively. According to the author, the sensual shapes of floor slabs give the illusion of floating in the air because they are completely surrounded by balustrades and curved glass walls. Her fluid design of concrete makes the building blend into the natural landscape.
RAFFLES CITY HANGZHOU HANGZHOU CHINA : Unstudio created this spectacular structure, which measures 60 stories. Mazur describes the complex as a’mixed usage complex consisting of two complementing towers, not identical, placed atop a podium, landscaped plaza and podium’. It houses residential units as well as offices and restaurants. There are also numerous leisure facilities such as a hotel, restaurant, and rooftop helipad. It is described by Mazur as a harmonious complex of curvaceous volumes. It is noted in the book that Mazur referred to the Qiantang River movement as the building’s curvy silhouette. This river has a wave-like motion towards the top.
RACV CASCHANCK RESORT MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA. The resort’s design was influenced by the surrounding landscape. It was constructed in 2019 by Wood Marsh Architecture. The 120-room resort is situated within the dune system, so there was no need to minimize its effect on the natural setting. The resort’s distinctive, monolithic, curvaceous shape is easily visible from far, but it does not dominate landscape, Mazur says. The architects told Mazur that the soft, rolling and almost dune-like topography requires an architectural style that is both fluidly sculptural. “The curvaceous, curvaceous upper-level cellular grid recalls sea cliffs with its pockmarked patterns,” they add.
ELLIPTIC HOUSE LUZ LAGOS, PORTUGAL – ‘The beautiful [coastal]Mazur writes that landscape is what inspired Mazur’s stunning villa. This villa was built in 2016 with Mario Martins Atelier as the architect. The author reveals: ‘The idea behind sinusoid lines of the outer shell was the creation of a fluid experience – without awareness of where the house begins or ends.’ White paint makes the structure reflect the sun and stand out against intense colors of the sea and sky.
GJG HOUSE GHENT BELGIUM – This single-family home, which is elegant and simple, was designed and built by Blaf Architecten in 2015. Mazur reveals: ‘The architects’ goal is to find new methods for using brick, which had recently become cladding rather than a structural material, due to new energy performance standards. Gjg House shows how bricks are re-used effectively and can be creatively shaped. The house was built in the middle of a forest near the highway, according to the author. She said that the architects designed the curving walls to be in line with the spaces between the trees and the structure. The house’s large size is visually reduced by its curvaceous volume, which allows it to blend seamlessly into the green environment.
MOAE, HUAMAO museum of art and education, NINGBO (CHINA): Mazur says that while the interiors are not large, they have been designed by Alvaro Siza, Carlos Castanheira. According to the author, 2020’s building is suspended over the ground while it leans on a hillside one side and leans on the other. The architects explained that inside visitors move in this huge void. It’s a ‘monolithic volume with undulating elevations, rounded edges and elegant metal cladding’, according to Mazur, who adds: ‘Like a lizard’s skin, it reflects sunlight over its curves and corrugated aluminium sheeting throughout the day, always changing and never looking quite the same’