Swallow's nest

Making a limited space feel larger and less pressing is a constant challenge for architects and interiour designers. The Franco-Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut utilizes the stunning visual metaphor of the Möbius strip, a surface with only one side, to give his building a feel of unbounded space. The design marks the Northeast entrance to Taichung gateway park in Taiwan, which is a quickly growing ecosystem filling a former airfield. To cite designerboom,

as it spirals around an ellipse, the volume elevates from the ground plane, leaving vaulted apertures to the central void, which becomes the ‘endless patio’. Vertices of the geometry sink below ground, creating a large lobby with reception, ticketing, shops, and cafes. a glass canopy hovers at ground level, opening the space to direct sunlight, and providing a feature in the courtyard above. A hall connects this subterranean space to the convention center, workshops, and archives. The lowest levels consist of underground parking and systems of protection from natural disasters.

Inside as well as outside, the building makes an unprecedented feeling of naturalness and harmony. The infrastructure of the giant building is seamlessly embedded into the surrounding ecosystem of the park. We see how the the advances of construction technology enable to innovative design concepts as that of the Swallow's nest work towards overcoming the space constraints and energy efficacy: the building aspires to be a zero carbon emission structure, taking the maximum advantage of natural light and environmentally-friendly heat sources. Needless to say, these design principles will be gaining importance in the future, as the space and energy concerns grow.  

We believe that the philosophy of this project can be expressed as "a symbiosis of nature and technology", and that is why we have chosen to feature it on our site. Whatever spaces the man will ever adapt for his habitat, be it ocean islands or seabed, underground settlements or even other planets, the goals of well-being, mental and physical health and harmony with the environment will always be pursued.  It is to be hoped that the remarkable effort that the authors of this project invested in organizing closed space to create an feeling of unboundedness and lightness, and their adhearence to naturalness and authencity in design will result in an increased comfort and well-being sensation of building's residents.

We are convinced that very similar principles will drive the designs of unconventional habitats, which this site is dedicated to. In particular, the proper architectural design must contribute to the following psychological aspects: 

  • Proper space organization plays an important role in facilitating the longtime dwelling in limited space. Ideally, a feeling of an unbounded space similar to that the Swallow's nest design conveys, would help reducing the negative effects of a crouded settlement. 
  • The green spots that fit so naturally to the design of the structure could further reduce stress caused by the closed space. As Mr. Callebaut puts it in his description of the project, 
    The structural concepts of this building enable to liberate completely the ground by transforming it into a huge aquatic and floral garden.

Furthermore, we also see a potential socio-economical impact of the design principles that this project embodies. Namely, striving to implement the best of breed architectural ideas in such an innovative and visually appealing way,  the community that has chosen such a design for its residence can expect certain reputational gains, setting itself in the focus of international attention and thus helping positive attitudes to develop in the outside communities. The choice therefore has reasonable chance to become beneficial for all members of the community that has opted for such a project.