Nature remains a vast source of inspiration for creative work. Currently the word “organic” in architecture points to a historically defined time under Frank Lloyd Wright, expressing an important yet personal relationship to the themes that natural processes allude to.
Nature, from the infinitely small to the infinitely large, is the reservoir of all things, an endless storehouse to mine and learn from with child-like curiosity in a heightened state of presence. Rivers, mountains, rocks, rugged landscapes, seashells, and fish are examples of natural forces crystallized in visible forms. Textures, patterns, contours, colors, the innumerable ways light falls onto animate and inanimate objects, and the suave tactility of materials suggest formal opportunities to shape our human-made surroundings in reciprocity with their natural counterpart. Architecture emerges from the understanding and replication of natural processes in creative consonance with what is already there. Physically and metaphorically, all consequential design propositions latch onto this primary environment to foster a bond and a sense of necessity and belonging between architecture and its users. Rather than distilling Nature to the absolute abstraction of its first principles, architects can instead choose to celebrate the richness of the physical world through programmatically driven shapes and through inventive interior and exterior layering. Architectural history is filled with myriad versions of the organic in space. From the work of Alvar Aalto, to the flights of fancy of Antoni Gaudi, to the colorful excursions of Pancho Guedes from Mozambique, the permutations of architectural expression of the organic is as countless as the imagination of its producers can conceive.
The constant rediscovery of (or return to) Nature, a recurring event as new generations replace the old, bears witness to the overriding of mechanistic technology in contemporary time. Currently the cult of the machine is supreme, continuing an inexorable journey started with the Industrial Revolution. The magnitude of such emphasis is yet to be comprehended in its long-term consequences. Yet, humans are inextricably linked to the organic, being themselves instances of Nature. It is that inseparability that awakens the consciousness of the individual when inhumane technology rules the making of the built environment. When facing the disconnect between the messages coming from our own organism and the physical world humankind has contributed to making, turning to the organic to produce an architecture rooted in Nature, can unleash a new set of relationships. Nature and the machine could then coexist in a working equilibrium based on the architecture of life.