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Alvar Aalto Museum

Project Title: Structural Flows: A Natural Connect

Location: Finland

Type: Competition

Design & Computation:  Sushant Verma, Ajay Khanna, Prannay Dhingra

Visualizations: Prannay Dhingra, Sadhika Baveja


Project Description

‘Structural Flows: A Natural Connect’ was conceptualized as a form moulded by natural forces and cultural layers to become a complex of interconnections and perforations physically and functionally.



“The very essence of architecture consists of a variety and development reminiscent of natural organic life. This is the only true style in architecture.”

-Alvar Aalto

A form constrained by rigid boundaries of architectural context would always stay reticent. A form molded by natural forces of context is likely to live beyond its life span. Organic free-flowing surfaces coupled with structural field lines and a highly tactile environment gives rise to the connection between two museums in an unprecedented way. ‘Structural Flows’ forms a natural connect between two existing rigid yet powerful forms in an organic and fluid manner evoking philosophy of the master architect Alvar Aalto.



A top-down approach to evolve a novel structure using a natural material, Bamboo, is followed through a computational & mathematical process leading to a complex bamboo structure simplified through a rational configuration of curves & lines. Landscape emerges from the organic form to blend with the context through a smooth yet strong geometry, giving rise to new usable spaces within the existing landscape. This allows the new connection itself to be a piece of art sitting amid natural contours and rigid built form. Tactility and experience are given a preference while conceptualizing the materiality of interior space with a rough concrete texture along smooth free-flowing walls broken at intervals by bamboo columns flowing along structural force lines.



Inspired from works of Aalto, the father of bentwood furniture, a mathematical approach is taken to design the structure along force lines that take shape with three dimensional bending of bamboo. This also allows bringing in natural light in the interior space in an elegant play of materials & shadows. Various bending principles & techniques that combine a high-tech and low-tech fabrication & assembly process come into use in the computationally driven design process.



The built form provides a multi-scalar idea reminiscing on the lines of products developed by Aalto which could only be fabricated on a small-scale due to existing technologies of that time. With the advancement of technology, computation acts as a process as well as tool to allow fabrication & construction of complex curves that configure & assemble to form a tectonics of this kind. Curved bamboo members not only help users connect with nature but also help nature connect with itself by acting as rainwater collecting channels which feed into groundwater to be used for landscape features.



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