Bird Island by Graft Architects

Buildings should be good. Ok, please keep reading, don’t let me scare you away with the above profound statement. The drive to make a beautiful building is as old as the profession of architecture. Yet we today, to no fault of anything other than the fact that we as a species are very good at reproducing as well as being awful smart, are more aware of the overall impact of things and we find that beauty often comes at a cost. An elegant form might at first glance or conception imply extra materials and a reduced overall sustainability of the project as a whole. The simplest forms tend to be the most sustainable, this is true. The igloo being a prime example (except within the context of trends toward global warming).

© Courtesy of Graft Lab

Graft Lab offers an exception to the rule in its urban renewal proposal for the YTL Green Home Competition in Kuala Lumpur. Titled Bird Island, it is a zero-energy single family home conceived as an open-air, covered deck. The many sleeves of sustainably sourced silicon glass fabric define a rough boundary, ever changing yet held to a general form by a framework.

So it is proven that in at least one case, an elegant and beautiful form is perhaps one of the more ‘sustainable’ solutions. There is only one problem I can find with the whole thing. And that is the element that appears to be stone- some sort of granite. In such a light, airy project, the introduction of a heavy, massive element seems to throw off the balance of the space. It appears to be stone, but I think it is some sort of a screen or a curtain. If it is a curtain, perhaps it should present itself more clearly as such.



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