Presentation on theme: "Chirality in Architecture"— Presentation transcript:
1 Chirality in Architecture David AvnirInstitute of ChemistryThe Hebrew University of JerusalemIn collaboration with Dirk Huylebrouck, Department of Architecture, Sint-Lucas UniversityNoSIC-5: Not Strictly Inorganic ChemistryPrullans de Cerdanya, June 6 - 8, 2012
8 Chirality and handedness A one slide courseThe 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 enantiomorphsor enantiomers* Enantiomers are different objects,but they look very similar.The similarity is because they aremirror-images of each otherThe difference is that theycannot coincide with each other.
9 A chiral object need not have a real enantiomer Regular right-handed screw Virtual left handed screw
10 The enantiomers of Calatrava’s Chicago-Spire model The left-handed Chicago-Spire……..……and its virtual right-handed enantiomer
11 The left-handed La Défense tower model (Wilmotte et Associés, Paris) The right-handed Mode Gakuen Spiral Tower,Nagoya
12 Was the choice deliberate? 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 enantiomerChicago-Spire……
13 A screw is deliberately manufactured as right-handed. But why was the Blossoming Dubai model, (Petra architects, Greece) designed as left-handed?
14 Calatrava’s 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
15 Chirality is not limited to spiral, helical designs, but is a property of any structure which is devoid of bilateral symmetryIAC (InterActiveCorp) world-headquarters, NYC (Frank Gehry)
16 Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA) 2010 Pritzker Architecture PrizeRolex Learning Center, SwitzerlandMuseum of Contemporary Art,NYC
18 Is the Guggenheim Museum a left- or right-handed building? Handedness labeling is an agreed convention,not an inherent property like chirality itselfGiven a definition of handedness, there is at least one chiral structure the handedness of which cannot be determined under that definition
19 Inducing chirality in achiral structures Breaking the bilateral symmetry induces chiralityZollverein School of Management and Design, Germany,Sejima and Nishizawa
20 Will Alsop The public art building, West Bromwich Ontario college of art
22 T.I.D. Tower, Tirana, Albania (2004/12) Peter Swinnen, 51N4E Architects, BrusselsWhich is the real façade?
23 Are chirality considerations relevant to architecture? Is the choice of a specific enantiomer, important?
24 The key argument: Diastereomeric interactions (DS) Diastereomers:* Taste differently, smell differently* Can heal or kill (Thalidomide)* Perceived differentlyCarvone(R): Spearmint (S): Caraway(Karwij, Kümmel)
25 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 informationTherefore, left and right objects must be perceived differently by the brain
26 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)
27 Rembrandt’s 2D-chiral preferences N. Konstom, “Rembrandt’s use of models and mirrors”, BurlingtonMagazine, 99, 94 (1977)
28 Perception as a 2D process * Perception is usually a 2D process, even of 3D objects* It is mentally difficult to check for achirality by rotation/translationTherefore: “Visual chirality” is quite rich
29 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.
30 Natural and urban environments/landscapes are chiral Diastereomeric interactions between neighboring buildingsToyo Ito Towers, Plaza Europa, Barcelona
31 Diastereomeric interactions with urban chiral environments La Défense tower model (Wilmotte et Associés, Paris)
32 Diastereomeric interactions with natural landscapes Objects with element of randomness are always chiralArches Park, UtahTherefore, placing the left- or a right handed version of a building in a natural landscape, results in different DS interactions
33 The two DS’s of a chiral building in a natural chiral environment
34 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.
35 More about chirality and architecture: A touch of some additional topics
52 Dynamic chirality induced by motion Clockwise and counterclockwise motions are dynamic enantiomersThe Seattle Space Needle revolving restaurant turns clockwise.Operators can control the rotation direction; the majority selected CW rotation!
53 All chiral concepts in one Summarizing exampleAll chiral concepts in oneEnantiomerizationDynamic chiralityGradual change in degree of chiralityFlip in handednessA racemic mixtureDavid Fisher, Italy, ”dynamic towers”, planned for Moscow and Dubai
55 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
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