8 June 2016
Architectural Association, London
Water is transformed into billions of molecules (vapour and steam) forcing the face of architecture to breathe. Walking through the mist, the damp sinks into your skin until you feel the chill of the air on your bones. The fog spreads in layers creating an odd disconnection, as if you could end up anywhere. The next corner will lead you to another reality. Slowing down the pace and being forced to walk carefully, you will start to see Noma’s activities through the fog.
As the kitchens become ‘activated’, mist is released into the perennially cold air. Water-activated counterweights absorb the moisture, increasing their own weight and activating the architecture. Hundreds of tensile filaments are brought to life, expanding the walls and roofs to create sheltered environments for Noma’s diners. Steam pours through the face of the building creating a layer of heat warming the restaurant.
During the MAD festival in August the building’s decks and other external spaces are expanded by triggering the water weights to accommodate a larger number of occupants and maximise the amount of the sunlight into the restaurant. The water creates a totally different atmosphere, humidifying the surroundings to cool down the visitor during the summer.
The visitor experiences a constantly changing architecture that has the ability to alter our understanding of space and place, as well as calling attention to the enduring relationship between architecture and the environment.
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