Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Möbius Architecture

As has previously been pointed out elsewhere, in the realm of large buildings resembling möbius strips, Peter Eisenman's design for Max Reinhardt Haus in Berlin, Germany came first:

[Max Reinhardt Haus model | image source]

Then came OMA's design for CCTV in Beijing, China:

[CCTV rendering | image source]

And now we have Oppenheim's design for Miami-Dade College's Wolfson Campus Center:

[MDC Wolfson Campus Center rendering | image source]

Formally, Oppenheim's design seems to merge the first two precedents, softening the abrupt angles of CCTV with bracing that resemble the torquing of the Max Reinhardt Haus, the most möbius-literal of the bunch. The last definitely reinforces the adage that architects don't invent, they creatively modify what came before. But if looping buildings will start popping up all over the place is probably a long shot, given the great expense and lack of expandability that such designs entail.


  1. The Max Reinhardt Haus still looks the best. It looks as if the building was pushed over, which alludes to an event. Eisenman best explains the idea of event architecture in Written into the Void. The other two buildings attempt to show movement with fenestration which is less exciting.

  2. Considering that the essence of a Möbius strip is a surface twisting from inside to outside and back in again, the CCTV building has nothing of a Möbius.
    The other two merely suggest one.
    The only true Möbius was in the Vila NM by UNStudio that went up in flames last year. UNStudio investigated the concept in their Möbius House near Amsterdam which dates 10 years ago.

  3. If one thinks of the Mobius strip in these cases as a continuous loop of circulation -- up, over, down, and around the building -- then the idea of the strip is intact. Taking the more literal surface approach of UN Studio and making the jump to a large building (what I'm admittedly focusing on here) is difficult, if not impossible.

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