Zoomorphic: the animal within architecture

Zoomorphic: the animal within architecture

Zoomorphic deals with the animalization of inanimate objects. Animal bone structures lurk in the bridges of Santiago Calatrava and Ian Ritchie, and also in the metaphorical and concept-generating wings, fins, scales and crustacea of countless student design projects.



The notion of animal forms as a source from which to inform human-made structures was popularized in D’Arcy Thompson’s book On Growth and Form back in 1961.

Meanwhile, plenty of literal and abstract representations of mammal, bird and fish forms abound in the built environment from…

Frank Gehry’s fish,

Frank Gehry’s fish

Fish fiend: Gehry has a fondness for the aquatic, he often incorporates a fish shape into his designs. His fish sculpture, built in 1992, sits in front of the Port Olímpic, in Barcelona, Spain

Cesar Pelli’s ‘whale’,

Cesar Pelli’s ‘whale’

The Pacific Design Centre or “Blue Whale” was built in 1975 to house interior design showrooms. It’s bright aquamarine colour, unusual form and drastic break in scale with the surrounding buildings aroused controversy. Designed as an object floating in space, it was never intended to be altered. So when asked to design an extension, Cesar Pelli & Associates decided to treat the original building as a single piece within a group of contrasting fragments

to Herb Greene’s ‘Prairie Chicken’

Herb Greene’s ‘Prairie Chicken’

Herb Greene’s 1961 home in Oklahoma is framed with simple timber construction, the unfinished cedar shingles make the house look like a “chicken.” Partially inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and other modernists, Greene didn’t really have a chicken in mind, but he was going for a warm and feathered effect.



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