London-based architectural firm Orproject sent us their proposal for the Busan Opera House in South Korea slated to begin construction in 2014. The design of the proposed structure, entitled "Anisotropia," is informed by a piano piece composed by the firm's director. The repetition of musical elements become the repetition of structural elements, such that "complex architectural rhythms...are used to control the light, view and shading properties of the facade."
Anisotropia is yet another example of the current organic architecture movement, often derisively termed "blobitechture." In many cases, the structures are informed by mathematical formulas without clear intentions of why the formula or specific inputs were used other than to generate a unique form. (For those interested, read up on the Grasshopper extensions to the 3D modeling software, Rhino.) At least in Orproject's case, the building is designed with regards to a musical piece. However, the project still begs the questions: Why was this piece of music chosen? What was the process for converting music into structure?
Orproject attempts to answer the second question, stating that:
The positioning of the facade walls has been developed according to a custom written flow simulation. The algorithm describes a flow that is influenced and altered by a set of deflectors, which each act according to the magnitude of their attraction and the area of their influence.
Once again, this feels unconvincing. Why not choose a musical piece related to Busan, South Korea, as an interdisciplinary twist on site-specificity? At least then the reasons for the origins of the design would fit with the location of the structure. Sure, beauty by itself can be wonderful to behold, but in the case of a purpose-built building—a cultural center no less—beauty with a reason is often more satisfying.