6 March 2010

Architectural Twisters: Fire Strategy 1 – Architect 0


Event ∕ Faux Nature ∕ Weather

In my last entry I boldly tried to force a 2010 Dürüm Döner into the hands of 1969 Walter Ulbricht by ways of the Deleuzean concept of the refrain as a strategy of place making. Sometimes you write these things and are left feeling slightly unsure if there’s actually something behind your grossly speculative concoction, in this case, the tale of the spinning folly as a post-whatever strategy of place making as an alternative to western enlightenment traditions.

I initially felt some reassurance by the recent BLDGBLG entry on a record breaking artificial tornado created in the Mercedes Benz museum in Stuttgart.  Only to then find out that the motivation behind this vortex was not semiotic or representative at all, but the result of a pretty amazing fire strategy that allowed for an open floor design completely free of fire doors.

From Autoblog, via BLDGBLG:

“The twister takes around seven minutes to materialize and is generated by 144 jets and 28 tons of air. The low pressure area at the center of the tornado works to create a jet stream that draws smoke out of the building’s corridors and funnels it upwards and out an exhaust vent on the roof.”

The tornado fire strategy seems intrinsically linked to the morphological concept of the museum: an ascending double helix (The Mercedes DNA) spins and ramps the museum program continuously around the central atrium space, which is now revealed to us as the focus not only of of the building’s representative program and circulation, but also of it’s more utilitarian fire strategy. As so often the case,  this unintentional utilitarian detail, afterthought or interpretation provides an aspect of a building (the helix as a system of ordering) that is at least as interesting as the original and intentional design.