It isn’t often that an entire exhibition is focused solely on the work of one single contemporary design firm, but DAM: Deutsches Architecktur-museum in Frankfurt is doing just that with their showing of WOHA - Breathing Architecture.
A multidisciplinary design firm based in Singapore, WOHA is led by directors Wong Mun Summ, a native Singaporean, and Richard Hassell, an Australian born and raised Architect. As a team, the pair made a name for themselves in the late 1990s, with their open, single-family dwelling designs suitable for the tropics. Today, their work is of a greater scale, mainly designing high-rises and large structures, such as a mega residential park in India and office and hotel towers in Singapore.
The company’s design philosophy revolves around the idea that the responsibility of the architect to create diverse, innovative and exciting environments. They believe that each project should add a humane and desirable environment to the world, resulting in a continuous improvement of the constructed environment. It is this ideology that makes WOHA the shining example of building for vertical garden cities.
The firm is intent on creating permeable architecture, creating building structures which provide cooling, natural lighting, reused rainwater and solar modules which harvest energy.
The exhibition is split into four categories: Permeable Houses, Open School and Community Buildings, Porous Towers, and Perforated Hotels and Resorts. Across these chapters, 19 of WOHA’s most important projects are showcased, through large format photos and plans, project texts, digital images and models.
Within these classifications, there is a focus on different themes as well, including tree, umbrella, landscaping, community and porosity, all revolving around the progressive development of life and living standards in Singapore.
A key feature of Singapore design is that of skyward development, with buildings being built vertically to maximise space. Parallel with this advancement, has been the transformation of the metropolis into a garden city. Here, the umbrella-like crowns of trees make them the fundamental tropical shelters, optimising conditions in a hot and humid climate. With this as inspiration, WOHA has transformed this image for use in the contemporary Singaporean multi-storey. The firm also extensively uses plants as shading and facade materials, with their green buildings devised and developed in the context of Singapore’s garden ideal. Traditional styled pavilion structures and cabanas have been transformed by WOHA into contemporary forms, providing new interpretations for other building typologies.
It is this tropical slant to architecture that makes WOHA such an appealing choice to display, being permeable, leafy and interspersed with community spaces. These characteristics are what lead to the title of “Breathing Architecture”, as WOHA’s works really do seem to grow and develop just like living organisms. +
WOHA - Breathing Architecture is on at DAM: Deutsches Architekturmuseum until 29th April 2012
For more information visit www.dam-online.de
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