Back to the roots
“Consider the Sphere; it is the purest and most efficient form of enclosing space and volume. Maximum volume for minimum material and surface area. All forces and loads placed on such a form whether gravitational, wind, applied loads or just the weight of the form itself are perfectly transferred along the surface of the sphere in all directions. Just look at the purity, beauty and elegance of a simple soap bubble.
Since man began creating his own shelters each and every construction has in some way with local available materials, skills and manpower tried to come as close to the sphere as possible by maximising enclosed space with minimum of material.
As technologies, engineering skills and craftsmanship have improved through the centuries building forms have become ever more complex and elaborate and at some time went far beyond just trying to enclose space to celebrating the developments of man, technology, artistry or god. More and more material began being used for decoration, more complex forms just because they were possible. Then came the industrial revolution, the understanding of how to use concrete together with steel to industrialise building and turn it from a handmade craft on site to a manufacturing industrial offsite process.
With these advancements in some ways we lost the art and for that matter the aim of building altogether as the search for cheaper, quicker building solutions far out stripped the question of what environmental price we were paying for this path.
Looking forward we must reassess our priorities, targets, aims, and consider if we should not once again consider the sphere and the lessons it could teach us about striving to enclose more space with less material and minimise our carbon footprint.
With this in mind the ideas, concepts and solutions being developed within io-consultants’ integrated architecture department represent steps along a journey towards this aim. “Nobody does anything without knowing why”. We do not just create a modular, ﬂexible, cost, time effective and optimally functioning approach rather, much more.
We use local materials and skills where possible, combined with current technologies, consider the speciﬁcs of climate and available resources to create real sustainable solutions. The philosophy of “More for Less”.”
Let us for a moment, compare a building or production facility to the human form. We have a skeleton (the framework/ structure) which gives us our rigidity and stability whilst allowing us to ﬂex, move, grow and adapt to our needs and environment. We have organs (processes, building services, support functions) which animate us, power us take in life-giving energy, remove waste, allow us to think, process, produce things and alter our future. We have our skin (roof/ façade) which protects us from our environment as well as aiding in keeping us warm, cool, waterproofed and allows us to breath to keep us ﬁt.
As with these analogies, the skeleton and internal organs of our facilities are universal, interchangeable and although each individual application may be different in size or form the skeleton and organs are always the similar the world over.
An external façade or roof on the other hand has the direct interface to the outside world and quite rightly has to adapt, to the speciﬁcs of local climate, temperature, humidity, wind, sun, building materials and local skills etc. In developing the future of building, we look not only towards the purity of getting “more for less” but towards trying to learn from the lessons that nature can teach us by treading more lightly, working more with what the earth is trying to tell us than against and creating a better balance of what we put in with what we take out.”