Without question, re-bars are one of the most essential materials to many of the architectural projects we highly enjoy around the world. Although they are never exposed as their purposes lies inside the concrete, they allows us to take part of fascinating spaces and materials. Their structural purpose gives strength and helps support the heavy loads that force pulls down from above. When seen individually, it seems to lack character and purpose but when seen collectively, re-bars ignite a spark of innovation even worthy of the 2010 American Institute of Architects Excellence in Design Awards. Presented at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London on the 14th of April, the awards honors the design of completed projects by UK architects anywhere in the world and architects of any nationality in the UK. The list of winners is not shy of impressive as Zaha Hadid, Foster & Parnets, Will Alsop and David Chipperfield to name a few.
Located in Edinburgh, this garden composting shed designed by Nicholas Groves-Raines of Groves-Raines Architects Ltd (GRA). provides function but also innovation in form. GRA utilizes the re-bars collectively to create strength in the numbers. Utilizing structural framework points, GRA defines locations to where the rebars bend and molds into these organic undulations that embrace a five ton boulder and creates a visual interest to the back of the garden. The spectacular structure is made of only industrial concrete reinforcing bars (re-bars) and constructed utilizing a technique similar to traditional willow weaving. This impressive form looks liquid at times, as it rises from the ground and moves in a multi-dimensional plane. The repetitive technique gives it an engaging and dynamic experience. It subtly reminds me of the beautiful work by Richard Serra when using corten steel.
The technique employed creates a porous structure that allows air and sunlight to roam freely, providing ventilation for composting. The same weaving also proves interesting patterns from sunlight as it moves throughout the day. It is easy to fall in love with a project like this, as it encompasses what seems to be a full design cycle of environment, function, form, sculpture and innovation. Prepare yourself to seeing how this creative product inspires others to utilize the weaving technique for many others projects.