The human scale can best be described as the relationship between a body and its surroundings and a body is nothing if not the undeniable connection between our sensorial experience within the material world and how we perceive it within our own minds.
During the latest Design Indaba Festival, we have the chance to interview Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, from Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, a Shanghai-based inter-disciplinary architectural design practice, about their work and way of thinking about architecture.
Understanding the relationship between body and space is fundamental to offer the many different experiences that architecture can provide. To reflect on the distinctive scales that encompass the work of an architect, from buildings to furniture, we interviewed Marcelo Ferraz, co-founder of Brasil Arquitetura and Marcenaria Baraúna. His outlook and experience illustrate how the body and its symbolism are crucial when designing a project regardless of its scale.
Going beyond human scale is not a novelty. For centuries, builders, engineers, and architects have been creating monumental edifices to mark spirituality or political power. Larger than life palaces, governmental buildings, or temples have always attracted people’s admiration and reverence, nourishing the still not fully comprehensible obsession with large scale builds.
The Avions Voisin C7 was manufactured between 1924 and 1928 and featured a groundbreaking design for the time. The extensive use of glass, aluminum bodywork, and sharp angles hinted at the shapes of an aircraft. This was the car that Le Corbusier liked to park in front of his buildings - the architect considered this car to be the ultimate translation of modern age and technology combined into a single object. He was convinced that architecture had much to learn from this machine.
There has been increasing awareness in recent years of the importance of infrastructure for pedestrians. These additions to the urban environment improve the quality of cities by connecting spaces and shortening travel distances, and their introduction can be beneficial not only to pedestrians but also to cyclists seeking a more environmentally friendly method of transport.
In order to encourage the use of pedestrian infrastructure, here we present footbridges, alongside their construction details, to showcase innovative solutions in terms of materials, forms, and structures.
As dwellers of big cities, we tend to be dragged into a very fast-paced lifestyle. Surrounded by monumental buildings and infrastructure, we can easily lose sight of key spaces that connect us with our neighborhood and provide us with rare moments of peace and enjoyment. Appropriation of the environment we inhabit becomes an uncommon circumstance.
Compact living units have become the norm in most big cities across the globe. High density and the value of land in urban areas has made it mandatory for most developments to take full advantage of the buildable area. The result is homes that are increasingly smaller. Hong Kong is probably the most extreme case – with roughly three-quarters of the land preserved, the portion left for housing accommodates more than 7 million people in one of the densest urban environments on Earth.