What is Organic Architecture and How Can it Benefit Your Property?
— 25 March 2022
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— 25 March 2022
Referring directly to the creation of buildings, structures and spaces intrinsically linked to their natural surroundings, organic architecture is a forward-thinking method of integrating nature with construction design. Organic architecture structures are specifically created to blend with the existing landscape to offer the impression they are one and the same.
Vastly distinguishable from traditional architectural counterparts, organic architecture attains a number of unique characteristics. At its core, organic architecture insists upon the concept that, as with any living organism, the building must grow from within the environment, adapting to it, moulded by the surrounding nature.
The purpose of organic architecture is to create a sustainable ecosystem whereby the materials and components of construction support one another, and as a result, produce a modern house or office building that looks like a part of the natural habitat. Organic architecture is often achieved via sustainable design, furnishing, and a selection of eco-friendly materials.
In 1908, Frank Lloyd Wright announced his new philosophy to the world, a vision of a society in which architects and designers would abandon traditional forms of architectural learning they had become accustomed to. Gone were the days of planning out architectural drawings for meandering skyscrapers that would be built on bulldozed remains, instead, he believed it was time to embrace designs shaped by nature itself, one that would be in total harmony with the surrounding world.
According to his vision of organic architecture, Wright inherently believed that a modern home or office building could be a product of a place and time, integrated and contributing to the world that surrounds it, negating its harsh impact and becoming one with the environment. Wright insisted buildings should reinterpret the environment, reflecting the natural world, thus becoming one and the same. This, he believed, was in contrast with the growing skyscrapers and ugly imitations of the natural world he was beginning to see as the industrial age took hold.
According to Wright’s defining philosophy, organic architecture is a means of responding to the increased challenges of social change, modernity, and technological advance. These, of course, are all challenges we still face today. In fact, as the world continues to evolve and the challenges change and grow, our notion of organic architecture has had to adapt too. Today, organic architecture and buildings make up for a large and diverse part of twenty-first-century skylines, but as with any environmental challenge, there is still far more work to be done.
Set out in his philosophy, Wright propositioned the major principles of organic architecture that must be followed:
As with all buildings, any project constructed from organic materials must serve as a shelter, protecting its inhabitants’ safety and privacy.
Wright believed that the interior space is as much a part of its character and design as any furnishings or aesthetics. Spaces are to naturally flow from one area to the next without obvious separation, yet, through the use of alcoves and intelligent design, no other room or space should be visible from any angle.
Inspiration should be drawn directly from nature and the surrounding environment, but should never wholly imitate or undermine its impact. Inspiration is usually found in materials, colours and texture.
The initial architectural drawings for design should avoid clear contrasts with the environment or landscape, thus creating a sense of oneness and tranquillity with the surrounding nature, free of noise and clutter.
Wright believed that the patterns and forms of a building's architectural design drawings were akin to the elements of grammar in the language of a building. Independently, each element is merely a word, but when placed together, the building speaks.
The use of ornaments on a building must be a key aspect of its initial design, not an obvious afterthought. This means all ornamentation should be an integral part of the building's structure, seamlessly integrated into the shape and form.
Wright suggested all architectural drawings and designs were to be uniform, with an emphasis on clarity and simplicity.
Wright believed all furniture should be a built-in part of the space in order to integrate and unify the design with the natural world. Wherever possible, mechanical components, like light fixtures, appliances, furnaces, or plumbing should be considered as part of the space itself, not necessarily in plain sight, but not awkwardly tucked away or entirely hidden from view.
Organic architecture has a significant number of advantages and benefits, both personally and collectively, that can have a major impact on our lives. Able to reduce pollution and produce an environment that is both healthy and durable, organic architecture helps to decrease the use of natural resources and fuels in construction projects. Organic architecture can even help to improve air quality, both within and outside our own homes, through the use of clever integration with natural resources, and due to its reduced ecological impact, owning a property like this will reduce your electricity bills, saving you money. If you are a homeowner, you can most likely expect a high property value if you do ever plan on selling, as well as benefiting from a host of additional tax benefits.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the main benefits of organic architecture and design:
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of an environmentally friendly home and organic architecture is individuality. Homes made from organic architecture are still fairly uncommon, despite the creation of a relaxing environment, one that is sustainable and truly capable of bringing the outside world into your home, there's still a real disconnect between the importance of organic architecture ideology and the implementation of the concept on a mass scale.
With the price of energy increasing seemingly day by day, with a growing population and higher demand, there's never been a more important time to reconsider your home's efficiency levels.
Seeking organic materials and constructing architecture that surrounds the natural environment instead of removing it entirely benefits our ecosystem, whilst during the construction process you can think hard about how best to make your home efficient and eco-friendly.
When designing, and subsequently constructing, your eco-friendly home, sustainability really is everything. Organic materials are often more durable than traditional materials, requiring less maintenance going forward. This means your home stays looking newer for much longer, saving money and time on expensive repairs, as well as reducing the environmental impact of sourcing new materials on a consistent basis.
Try as we might, but a high level of products we use on a regular basis contain at least some harmful substances to one degree or another, often this is related to the material itself or a chemical used in the manufacturing process. One of the key advantages of installing eco-friendly materials is that they're natural, clean and free from harmful chemicals, finishes or environmental pollutants. This means they're safer to build and much healthier for both you, your family and even the wider community.
An important consideration for all of us, not just in terms of our homes, is reducing our carbon footprint. It is essential to the future of our planet. With eco-friendly materials, built directly into nature itself, organic architecture helps counteract the harmful effects of carbon emissions, reducing your carbon footprint helping to protect the environment.
As with most eco-friendly solutions, such as electric cars, many people are now waking up to the real benefits of organic architecture and the potential of owning an eco-friendly home. With lower running costs, to reduced carbon emissions and cleaner air, organic architecture homes are now incredibly sought after and as a result, have a much higher property value than their traditional non-green counterparts.
Spatial Design Architects is a RIBA chartered practice located in Essex in the East of England, we specialise in contemporary bespoke residential family homes, apartments, mixed-use projects and commercial developments. Our work undertakes discussions on interventions and opportunities that the land/buildings could achieve. We help you understand your desires and bring them to life, through our design, detail and delivery process. For 20 years our architecture has been progressive and explored many forms, materials, and sustainable solutions, underlined with our ethos on professionalism, quality, experience, and design.