Blob Architecture is taking over the world and becoming a centrepiece in some of the world’s most picturesque and historic cities.
“Blobitecture” or Blob Architecture is a term coined by Emporis, an international provider of building data. The organisation defines structures in this category as “gigantic, alien-looking buildings.”
“These strange structures call to mind images such as a melted guitar, a mushroom-like parasol, or a UFO that has landed among us," states Emporis. "Their unconventional, right-angle-gree geometric shapes are made possible by state-of-the-art computer aided processes."
In response to this growing trend, Emporis has compiled a list of the 10 most spectacular examples of blobitecture across the globe. The UK and Europe dominated the list while starchitect Frank Gehry secured three spots.
One of the best-known buildings in this style is Gehry’s free-flowing Experience Music Project in Seattle, also known as The Blob.
Emporis describes the building as combining “the most important aspects of the architectural movement of the same name – soft, flowing forms that come together to produce a complex whole. The metallic façade reflects a breathtaking play of colours from gold, to silver, to luminous violet.”
The Experience Music Project, like many others on the list, reflects its space's intentions. As a museum dedicated to risk taking and contemporary culture, the architecture responds to this mission statement reflect its fragmented and non-linear shapes.
The organic steel skyscraper, New York by Gehry at 8 Spruce Street, was also regonised on the list along with the curious curves and undulating glass atrium which make up Gehry’s DZ Bank Building, Pairser Platz structure.
The transparent architecture of the Golden Terraces in Warsaw, Poland is also a typical representation of blobitecture. The building's wavy roof which is constructed of thousands of separate glass elements rests like a frozen liquid over the atrium of this multi-storey shopping centre, Emporis says.
In an old vs. new landscape, Austrian art museum Kunsthaus Graz has become an urban landmark amongst baroque surroundings, demonstrating that Blobitecture is designed to stand out.
Blurring the boundaries between the modern and the historic, the unique structure is ringed by red tile roofs in the middle of the old town and has also been nicknamed “friendly alien.”
“The famous gallery’s unique ‘bubble’ is reminiscent of an outsized drop of water or an enormous soap bubble,” Emporis says. “Thus it is surprising that the expression “liquid architecture” is used as a synonym for blobitecture.”
With blobitecture, the public often confers fitting – and often bizarre – nicknames for these sculptured structures. Emporis uses the futuristic Selfridges Building, a shopping centre in Birmingham as an example, with the building's honeycomb-like façade resulting in it being nicknamed The Beehive.
Tall buildings are also similarly nicknamed, but Emporis notes that “blobitecture, with its organic, flowing forms, stands like no other design movement for a shift away from conventional architectural ideas – and is able to surprise time and time again.”
While Australia didn’t make the blobitecture list, Federation Square in Melbourne could easily have been considered. The building's design is commonly referred to as deconstructive architecture, a style commonly likened to Gehry's architecture.
Federation Square was twice nominated in separate competitions for the World’s Ugliest Building awards for it’s “frenzied and overcomplicated” architecture.
However, this falls within the boundaries of blobitecture. At the heart of the movement lays freedom and contemporary expression as will be seen in another upcoming Gehry project, Foundation Louis Vuitton pour la Création. That building, due to open next year, will see a glass building reminsencent of sailboat sails added to the Parisian skyline.
Here is the final Emporis list in its entirety in no particular order: