Architecture of Shells

How can a building of architecture grow?
The clue to the answer might be found in the shells of mollusks.

The exhibition displays 400 and more kinds of shell specimens collected from all over the world. Within the exhibition, there are 150 sectioned specimens that are open to the public, which is an unprecedented initiative. Shells act as enclosures that the mollusks themselves build and they are based on the construction principles of growth. Sectioned specimens of shells reveal that amazing inner structure. One can explain the growth of shells using two principles: equiangular spiral and accretionary growth. The equiangular spiral is a growth where the spiral grows toward the center of the spiral at a constant angle of the tangent. The accretionary growth on the other hand, is a growth achieved through the addition of shell increments to the margin at the outer end. The venue design of this exhibition also adopts the “spiral shape.” The design first set the reference line of the spiral that passes through the center of existing pillars in the exhibition room. Then, to improve the versatility of exhibition cases, cases were arranged as polygonal spirals using straight lines rather than curves. At the center of spirals, mollusks that had pointed shells with many spirals were positioned while toward the outer ends of the spiral, mollusks that had flat shells with few spirals were positioned.
Accretionary growth, rather than proliferation, has commonalities with architectural characteristics and it gives us much insight into the “design of growth.”

The exhibition was curated by Takenori Sasaki and designed by Fumio Matsumoto, both of them are professors at the University of Tokyo.

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Cite: "Architecture of Shells" 21 Jan 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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