Poestry_Dynamic Conflict

5 Dec

Architecture is often most successful when it discovers its origins within a site, a form of connection between the building and its context to prevent a tense isolation of the architecture. A building determined by a set of rules established from the situational conditions is inherently more integrated with the site and its conditions. It can be generated from a series of different forms of structure: geometric structures, territorial structures, conceptual structures, and physical structures. This permits an intrinsic background and rationale to the architecture and provides a more recognizable result, even if the structure is not immediately evident in the final design.

Geometric structures are perhaps most innate within the conditions of a site; they are extrapolations of surrounding circumstances, lines, masses, and voids that begin to establish new geometries that can be arrayed throughout the site and develop a new language of geometries for the building. Directly related to this structural form is that of territorial structures; these are more urban and macro-oriented than geometric, but still are related to the site. It maintains that all cities have their own structure, and there are certain pre-established conditions that influence the remainder of urban fabric. Most often, rivers and hills begin to establish the eventual planning and development of a city; evident very saliently in Rome, the current city planning is a direct correlation of obeying the geographical situations of the river and seven hills. Within the site itself, however, micro-structures are propagated as a result of these broader structures.

Conceptual structure, in the words of Paul Klee, is “not visible by the eye, the essence beyond the appearance of things. The structure is a tool for organizing that determines the rules between the components of the system.” The conceptual structure derives itself from the program, site, and geography of the project, and becomes manifest within the eventual design. It extracts from the urban fabric or situational conditions, to establish another level of background. The rationale produced by this structure, however, can be broken; Poestry, which is a creative output based on dynamism and transformation, brings irrationality and establishes a conflict between order and chaos, a design juxtaposition that establishes inherent tension. The conceptual structure begins to define the interrelationship between the individual components, but also can be broken to prevent excess rigidity. Structural rigidity can also be manifest in the actual physical structure itself. This, in conjunction with concept, can orient and determine the interrelationship of the individual elements. These forms of background and structure are all evident within the architectural works of Labics, a Rome-based firm that emphasizes the establishment of proper building origins of design based on structure.

The project for Italpromo + Libardi Headquarters involved the complete transformation of an existing school building from the 1950s into a new headquarters for the company. When an architect renovates a building, they are essentially rewriting it, and therefore must know what they are writing on; the importance of the existing structure – the physical and geometric- within a renovation are immediately evident since they are the existing envelope that acts as the perimeters of the design. Therefore, much of the background is already established, and can be reinterpreted to develop the conceptual structure, which is what ultimately drove the final design in conjunction with the physical and geometric conditions. Labics designed a new volume to be inserted into the previous space, through which the previous structure penetrates. The volume is where the meeting spaces and offices were to be activated, and were almost suspended within the building to subdivide the section into four distinct elements: the circulation, the void, and meetings rooms, and open space. The new design, in accordance with the notion of poestry, had new additions to the physical structure that created a geometric friction, since they were neither parallel nor perpendicular, but rather at an extreme angle. On a larger scale of situational influence, the multifunctional building for the GD company responds to the broader urban context rather than just the confines of the building interior of a renovation.



Multifunctional buildings present an immediate issue to the designer: there are so many components that must be integrated that often do not relate. This was certainly the case for the building commissioned by the GD company, in which they expected a kindergarten, museum, canteen, gym, auditorium, and training center to coexist on one site. This was accomplished by implementing several structures: conceptual, geometric, and territorial. The location of the site along the river informed the design, since a relationship was to be established between the building and the river. It was to extend a path from the river and create a public continuity up through the entirety of the building, terminating in the auditorium. This was decided such that there could be an interface between the building and the public, since the intention of the multi-use construction was to invite the public to partake and extend the publicly accessible space throughout the building. Another project that had to respond to similar issues and combine a myriad of elements onto one site was the Fontana Square in Quinto de Stampi.





The site for the Fontana Square was a wide, abandoned space located in a typical urban periphery. It had to be a space that was flexible enough to satisfy the complex and multifaceted needs of the population, but also be defined enough to be readable as a destination. The particulars of what would activate the site were determined from a participatory process involving the city and people, in which they voiced the needs and desires for a fountain, greenspace, covered space, playground, benches, parking lot, monument, lighting, and many more. A geometric structure was therefore determined, which would then dictate certain activities and needs within each division of the pattern. The pattern was very angular and dynamic, and the triangles created based on the striations of the pattern would each be designed with a different material, intention, and occupation. On a much larger scale, however, the urban structures are investigated within the restoration and redevelopment of the old historic center of Wuhu in China.



In order to create a macro-plan for a section of an entire city, much larger scopes of investigation are necessary. When designing for the destroyed historic center of Wuhu, the previous condition of the historic center before its destruction became the determining background of the new design. It was intended to allude back to the sense of the previous historic center, but in a more modern way. The footprints of the major structures that once stood within the perimeters of the center would be rebuilt: the city hall, city temple, Confucius’s Temple, and Buddha’s Temple, which further began to dictate the new design. Also, from the previous center, the major axes and lines of movement, both pedestrian and vehicular, were replicated, all in an attempt to develop deeper ties to the history and memory of the site.

In music, a rhythm is required to compose a song, while in architecture, a structure is required to compose a building. There is no sense to a building when there is not a sense of structure or background to organize and establish conditions for the design. Labics has designed all projects with a thorough emphasis on the notion of having a strong structure and set of rules to be manifest in the design. They can be established through physical structure, conceptual structure, geometric structure, or territorial structure, and all permit a sophisticated rationale to emerge within the design process on which to establish a design that is seemingly organic within its context.


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