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Contemporary architecture

Fernando Sepulveda


Lars Spuybroek (born September 16, 1959) is a Dutch architect who along
with Maurice Nio (born 1959) founded the group NOX in 1990. Maurice Nio
left in 1996 to work in the office of BDG (Bureau de Gruyter). The name NOX
was taken from an advanced humanoid extraterrestrial race from the
television program Stargate.
Lars Spuybroek graduated with honors at the Technical University Delft (the
largest and oldest public Dutch school) in 1989. He started his professional
practice immediate after completing his studies winning the Archiprix for his
Palazzo Pensile, a new royal palace built in Rotterdam for Queen Beatrix (who
resigned on April 2013) just a year after graduating.
NOX group became known in the
international scene after the
design of the Water Pavilion for
the Delta Expo Waterland in
1997. The interior is defined by a
succession of 14 different
ellipses recalling the stomach of
a whale through its continuous
geometry. The interactive
illumination as well as many
other interactive characteristics
such as sounds and projections
Water Pavillion in the interiors creates a very
Neeltje Jans Netherlands (1997) interesting and dynamic
NOX architecture has being sometimes categorized as blobitechture which is
characterized by having organic amoeba shaped forms which are achieved
with the aid of computers for the designing manufacturing or even some
times using for augmenting reality within buildings. Although the heavy use
of technology in his work, Lars Spuybroek has always denied any type of
connection with futurism nor organicism. Instead, he has being famous for
recalling and pointing out unusual historical references such as Frei Otto or
Wilhelm Worringer.
Although most of the architects active
in the field of non-standard
architecture have difficulties
presenting their projects to others, even
if they are architects as well, Lars
Spuybroek is one of the few who hasnt
renounced and continues firm in his
premise of architecture being desperate
in need of beauty. Spuybroek describes
current architecture as in a state of cold
minimalism or blind traditionalism. This
attitude of trying to find new
alternatives in architecture is reflected
in his design of a new WTC in New York.
In this project, NOX rethinks the idea of
the traditional skyscraper creating
instead a complex set of diagonal
towers that encounter themselves
creating a single networked system.
The main features of this design is that
it allows the sunlight to reach the street
level and connects office spaces on top
with public nodes such as restaurants,
Oblique WTC
New York, USA(2001) galleries and cinemas. The design was
so shocking and revolutionary that it
was published in many magazine and was exhibited in the American Pavilion
of the Venice Biennale in 2002 bringing NOX to international scene.
As it may be expected NOX group, due
to its radical designs, doesnt have
many big built projects. One of their
most representative built projects is the
Maison Folie Cultural Center in Lille,
France. The project was completed in
2004 and consists in a renovation of an
old textile factory in a new artistic
center with various functions such as
exhibition spaces, artists homes, baths,
restaurants, theaters, sound studios
among others. To make it correspond to
Maison Follie
Lille, France (2004)
its historic usage, the building was draped in an undulating fabric made of
stainless steel. This fabric undulates and reflects the light of the environment
as well as artificial light creating almost a theatrical effect.
NOX group is characterized for its
dedication to art as well. They have
completed many artworks, mostly
sculptures, all around the world. Their
most renowned sculpture is the D-Tower
concluded in 2004 in Detinchem,
Netherlands. It is basically a 12 meter
high interactive artwork which its
structure is related to gothic vaults
having a sort of continuous columns and
vaults. The sculpture is connected to a
website containing a questioner. This
survey deals with basic emotions such as
hate, love, fear and happiness. At the
Doetinchem, Netherlands
end of the day, a computer concludes (2004)
from the responses of the survey the
emotional state of the town relating it with a specific color in the tower. This
is an extremely interesting concept because it creates a direct interactive
and dynamic connection between the inhabitants of the city and the
sculpture, being this a reflection of their emotional state.
The combination and use of technology in their projects enables NOX
projects to be more than just a single isolated works of art but rather
integrates society and makes the part of them. The implementation of
technology in order to create a more adaptive architecture which satisfies
final users needs but at the same time makes them feel that it is a very
extension of themselves is a benefic characteristic.


NOX | Lars Spuybroek. (n.d.). NOX | Lars Spuybroek. Retrieved May 3, 2014, from
Lars Spuybroek. (2014, April 18). Wikipedia. Retrieved May 3, 2014, from
Puglisi, L. (2008). The Poetics of the electronic: Between the blob and the metaphor.
New directions in contemporary architecture: evolutions and revolutions in
building design since 1988 (). Chichester, England: Wiley ;.