Elastic approaches to design

Friday 04 Mar 2011

Tony Owen explores 'liquid' architecture in a series of new projects

Tony Owen Partners is an Australian firm of 25 architects with a new approach. They combine the imperatives of sustainable design with new capabilities of digital technology. They call this ‘Elastic Design’.

This is architecture that is pliant, yet has an inherent structure and ordering principle. Elastic Architecture is capable of responding to changing variables such as solar, wind, efficiencies of structural networks and programmes. They are making dynamic buildings which respond to variations in inputs and relationships. They have translated these principles into efficient and commercial solutions, and are the leading firm building large numbers of parametric commercial projects in Australia.

The unique form of their Moebius House (completed 2010) responds to the requirements to maximise views as well as solar performance and connectivity to outside spaces. The architects responded to the site with a series of movements which folded and twisted the space. They created a dynamic model capable of responding to changes in these variables and utilised it in the cad-cam fabrication process.

The house has a fluidity of space with a strong relationship with the surrounding landscape. Eliza Apartments (under construction - completion 2012) will be Sydney’s most exclusive apartments located in the classic heritage centre of the CBD. The shape responds to different views and environmental conditions on different levels and the use of rich, traditional and luxurious materials creates a strong contextual fit.

Their Harley Davidson (completed 2007) building reflects the uniqueness of Harley Davidson. For design inspiration they looked to the bikes themselves; their emotion and efficiency. The geometry of the engines' forks and frames can be seen in the lines of the building. 

Their Abu Dhabi Ladies Club, which is now under construction (completion 2011), is a unique facility providing sporting, health and child care as well as business training to women in the Muslim World.

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