Presentation on theme: "Chirality in Architecture David Avnir Institute of Chemistry The Hebrew University of Jerusalem In collaboration with Dirk Huylebrouck, Department of Architecture,"— Presentation transcript:
Chirality in Architecture David Avnir Institute of Chemistry The Hebrew University of Jerusalem In collaboration with Dirk Huylebrouck, Department of Architecture, Sint-Lucas University NoSIC-5: Not Strictly Inorganic Chemistry Prullans de Cerdanya, June 6 - 8, 2012
Chemists are architects
Architecture and chemistry: The Atomium (Brussels) and the BCC Body-centered cube André Waterkeyn, 1958
Geodesic dome by R. Buckminster Fuller, Washington University, St. Louis, 1954.
Achirality has been prevalent over the history of architecture Here are three icons: Menkaure's pyramid
The E mpire State Building
Chirality and handedness A one slide course The main property of chiral objects – objects without mirror symmetry - is that they have two forms: a left-form and a right-form (handedness) * These left and right forms are called enantiomorphs or enantiomers * Enantiomers are different objects, but they look very similar. The similarity is because they are mirror-images of each other The difference is that they cannot coincide with each other.
Regular right-handed screw Virtual left handed screw A chiral object need not have a real enantiomer
The enantiomers of Calatravas Chicago-Spire model The left-handed Chicago-Spire……..……and its virtual right-handed enantiomer
The right-handed Mode Gakuen Spiral Tower, Nagoya The left-handed La Défense tower model (Wilmotte et Associés, Paris)
Key question: Why was one enantiomer selected over the other possibility? Was the choice deliberate? The real left-handed model of the and its virtual right-handed enantiomer Chicago-Spire……
But why was the Blossoming Dubai model, (Petra architects, Greece) designed as left-handed? A screw is deliberately manufactured as right- handed.
Calatravas HSB Turning Torso, Malmö, Sweden Based on his marble sculpture, following a twisting human spine; but no clue why a left handed twist was used
IAC (InterActiveCorp) world- headquarters, NYC (Frank Gehry) Chirality is not limited to spiral, helical designs, but is a property of any structure which is devoid of bilateral symmetry
Rolex Learning Center, Switzerland Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA) 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Frank Gehry
Handedness labeling is an agreed convention, not an inherent property like chirality itself Is the Guggenheim Museum a left- or right-handed building? Given a definition of handedness, there is at least one chiral structure the handedness of which cannot be determined under that definition
Zollverein School of Management and Design, Germany, Sejima and Nishizawa Inducing chirality in achiral structures Breaking the bilateral symmetry induces chirality
The public art building, West Bromwich Ontario college of art Will Alsop
Toyo Itos Hotel Realia, Barcelona
T.I.D. Tower, Tirana, Albania (2004/12) Peter Swinnen, 51N4E Architects, Brussels Which is the real façade?
Are chirality considerations relevant to architecture? Is the choice of a specific enantiomer, important?
Diastereomers: * Taste differently, smell differently * Can heal or kill (Thalidomide) * Perceived differently Carvone (R): Spearmint (S): Caraway (Karwij, Kümmel) The key argument: Diastereomeric interactions (DS)
Our biological receptor at focus: The brain * The left and right hemispheres of the brain are very unequal * Therefore, no mirror symmetry – the brain is chiral * Specifically: the brain is a chiral information receptor * Therefore, if the information – visual – is chiral, DS interactions result between the brain and the information Therefore, left and right objects must be perceived differently by the brain
Psychology of aesthetic perception When some pictures are mirror reversed, aesthetic evaluations of them change dramatically. When a painting is viewed in a mirror… even the meaning can change… The first major finding… was that paintings containing left-to- right directional cues were preferred… A. M. Mead and J. P. McLaughlin, Brain and Cognition, 20, 300 (1992)
N. Konstom, Rembrandts use of models and mirrors, Burlington Magazine, 99, 94 (1977) Rembrandts 2D-chiral preferences
* Perception is usually a 2D process, even of 3D objects * It is mentally difficult to check for achirality by rotation/translation Therefore: Visual chirality is quite rich Perception as a 2D process
Are chirality considerations relevant/important to architecture? First answer: Yes, the left enantiomer and the right enantiomer of the same building may be perceived aesthetically in a different way.
Toyo Ito Towers, Plaza Europa, Barcelona Natural and urban environments/landscapes are chiral Diastereomeric interactions between neighboring buildings
La Défense tower model (Wilmotte et Associés, Paris) Diastereomeric interactions with urban chiral environments
Diastereomeric interactions with natural landscapes Objects with element of randomness are always chiral Therefore, placing the left- or a right handed version of a building in a natural landscape, results in different DS interactions Arches Park, Utah
The two DSs of a chiral building in a natural chiral environment
Are chirality considerations relevant/important to architecture? First answer: Yes, the left enantiomer and the right enantiomer of the same building may be perceived aesthetically in a different way. Second answer: Yes - most environments are chiral, and therefore left- and right versions of the same structure, interact with it differently.
More about chirality and architecture: A touch of some additional topics
Various degrees of chirality:
Different degrees of chirality Low degree and higher degree of chirality
Resolution dependent chirality T.I.D. Tower, Tirana, Albania Peter Swinnen, 51N4E Architects, Brussels Low resolution – far away: Achiral High resolution- very close: Achiral Intermediate resolution: Chiral
Architectural aggregates and crystals Four chiral unit cellsA housing crystal
A Soviet chiral aggregate adsorbed on a highway
Architectural liquid-crystal chiral phases
Is prochirality possible in architecture?
Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, D.C. Induction of chirality by light, shadows and reflections
Static vs. Dynamically induced chirality
Chiral enantiomerization of a left-hand to a right-hand glove Is (chiral) enantiomerization possible in architecture?
Dynamic chirality by illumination Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Enantiomerization: Dynamics may introduce a flip in handedness The enantiomerization is chiral
The original inventor of chiral enantiomerization
The Seattle Space Needle revolving restaurant turns clockwise. Operators can control the rotation direction; the majority selected CW rotation! Dynamic chirality induced by motion Clockwise and counterclockwise motions are dynamic enantiomers
David Fisher, Italy, dynamic towers, planned for Moscow and Dubai Summarizing example All chiral concepts in one Enantiomerization Dynamic chirality Gradual change in degree of chirality Flip in handedness A racemic mixture
Conclusion and Outlook * Chirality is a neglected major structure-characterization feature in architecture * It affects perception and the interaction of buidings with the environment * Therefore it should be embraced by cutting-edge architecture