CHARLES D. S. MADUKA
‘An idea is salvation by imagination’-Frank Lloyd Wright. The three basic needs of man are food, shelter and clothing. Shelter protects man from dangerous animals and harsh weather conditions. Some shelters are neither buildings nor architecture.
The Collins English Dictionary describes a building as a structure that has a roof and walls. It becomes architecture when the climatic influences become part of its concept and construction.The early or prehistoric man dwelt predominantly in natural caves. Man has however advanced beyond cavity habitation and dwells in an enclosure that not only protects him from danger but gives him comfort and luxury. Ownership of a building has psychological and emotional influences. It sometimes becomes classy and a status symbol. However some folks would sometimes want to simplify their live style by living in apartments far below their net worth. Furthermore, architecture is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as the art or science of building; specifically: The art or practice of designing and building structures and especially habitable ones. Dictionary. Com defines shelter as a dwelling place or home considered as a refuge from the elements.
Conversely, it defined a human being as (1) any individual of the genus Homo, especially a member of the species, Homo Sapiens.(2) a person, especially as distinguished from other animals or as representing the human species. However, the classification of architecture and shelter varies, giving room for choices and discretions. ‘Life is composed of our choices and constructed by our words’ –Edwin Louis Cole .The power of choosing has made it possible for some people to decide to live in shelters considered unusual or ‘weird’ architecture.Inspired by his passion for the aircraft as well as the need for shelter, Bruce Campbell, an innovative Engineer from Oregon, US converted a decommissioned Boeing 727-200 into an unusual and innovative home. The huge 3-engine commercial airliner is propped up on concrete pillars in a suburban wooded area outside of Portland Oregon and even has its own drive way.
Campbell lives in this airplane for six months every year and spends the other half in Japan where he is planning to buy another retired Boeing fuselage for the second unusual home. In a true labour of love, Campbell bought a retired plane, took it apart and reassembled it in a thicket of tress .The overall impression is a jetliner that has miraculously landed in the woods and become an innovative home. It is indeed a cynosure and a sight to behold.
Furthermore, in 2007 a toilet–shaped house also known as Haewoojae was commissioned in Suwon, South Korea. The South Korean sanitation activists marked the start of a global toilet association by lifting the lid on this word’s first lavatory-shaped home that offers plenty of water.
In France, the Heliodome, a bioclimatic solar house was completed in 2011.The house was designed as a giant three dimensional sundial set on a fixed angle in relationship to the sun’s movements, to provide shade during the summer months , keeping the inside temperature cool. During fall, winter and spring sunlight enters the large windows as the sun’s position is lower in the sky, thus warming the living space.
On the 25th May 2006, a disaster resistant Japanese soccer- ball- shaped house was unveiled in Gifu, Japan. This thirty -two -side geodesic sphere floats and has the structural strength to resist earthquakes. It was designed by Kimidori. Similarly, a house was built on a rock on river Drina near Bajina Basta, Belgrade in 1968.The house was built by a group of young men who decided that the rock on the river was an ideal place for a tiny shelter. Back home, here in Africa, we have an unusual house in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. It looks like a crawling crocodile. It was designed by an Ivorian veteran artist; late Mousse Kalo.It was unveiled on Sept 11th, 2008.In the same vein, the cabin tree house was commissioned in the Swedish village of Harads in 2010.A number of cabins were suspended on trees to create a lofty new hotel concept set in a remote village with the aim of elevating the simple tree house into a world class destination for design – conscious travelers.
A wide variety of unusual houses can be found in many parts of the world but the examples aforementioned are for the purpose of this piece. Most of these unusual shelters were designed and built by their respective owners who had little or no idea about architecture. Come to think of it: It pays to think outside the box and variety they say is the spice of life. The world would become a theater of shelter-varieties if every man or woman designs and builds his or her own dwelling place. According to Constantin Brancusi, Architecture is inhabited sculpture.
.Architect MADUKA wrote in from Lagos.
For a better society