Leading with Intent: Why Parametric Architecture?


The Indus Valley civilization, Roman aqueducts, Mid-Century Modernism – these are a few of the eras that have made a lasting impression in the way we live life today. At times both mundane and sacred, the art of architecture has the incredible power of impacting and influencing the way a people live their lives; whether they can embrace a sense of community or chart out their own individualistic paths.

The beauty of good architecture lies in its presence – when confronted with bad design, we are all aware of it, but when it comes to good design, it intuitively understands our needs and fits in seamlessly in our lives. A constantly evolving field, architecture is, to us, science given a poetic turn.

Architecture often occupies that enviable space between form and functionality, which may seem restrictive, but actually allows for greater solution-led thinking. MC Escher’s hypnotic staircase might bend people’s minds, but it’s only the application of architectural principles that something so statuesque can be made.

Relativity by M.C. Escher

As the aesthetics associated with architecture evolve and change, so do its techniques. Often rooted in an understanding of a futuristic landscape, Parametric Architecture is something as simple as designing with intent. While it does have its fair share of formulae and software, its heart lies in understanding the context and consumer. How can space be optimized? How can togetherness be fostered? How can wonder be encouraged?

It is as simple, and as complex as that.

Revolutionized by artists / architects such as Zaha Hadid and Bjarke Ingels, Parametric Architecture is driven to attain what some might call an impossible vision. Take the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, for example. The public plaza is designed to engage the common citizen with its walkable roof park, exhibition spaces, museums, seminar rooms, and retail stores. The fluidity of form promotes a sense of openness and space which allows the visitor to think, dream, and believe – rather than be restricted by strict walls and sharp angles. Yet, it co-exists with its surroundings. The dynamic façade features different pixels and perforations that invite the natural light to come in and cast its own patterns.

Dongdaemum Design Plaza by Zaha Hadid

Closer home, we at Studio Emergence, recently designed the Andheri station for Mumbai’s much-awaited Metro Line 7. Projected as one of the key technologies that will propel the city into a futuristic yet user-friendly one, the station has been designed keeping access and flow in mind. India’s iconic Jali pattern has been reimagined for the roof, which then lets natural light and air in. Moreover, with solar panels on the roof, it allows for smart utilization of the resources the city has at its fingertips!

Reinterpeting Jali for the Mumbai Metro Line 7 Station

It doesn’t need to be macro as much as this though – our Hybrid Seat has been designed through the lens of Parametric Architecture, yet it’s rooted in the idea of how we can bring people together and foster conversation. Today, the same seat is at Vizag’s TU 142 Aircraft Museum and a private residence in Shivaji Park, Mumbai.

sofa, interiors, design
The Hybrid Seat by Studio Emergence

At the heart of it, Parametric Architecture is all about the juxtaposition of emotion and technology. It relies on collaboration, contextualization, and vision to truly make something unique yet user-friendly. As the Earth’s environment and people’s needs are changing, we need to create architecture that will stand the test of time and yet fit in with the lifestyle of the moment. At Studio Emergence, this practical yet poetic approach is what we believe is needed to make the cities and homes of the future – responsive, responsible, and well-adjusted to the needs and lifestyle of the consumer.

Image credits
Dongdaemun Design Plaza by Zaha Hadid

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