When you put aside the technical jargon and academic approach, all architecture really is, is the art of creating shelter. As American architect Philip Johnston once wrote, "All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space." Or, as Mick Jagger put it, "If I don't get some shelter, I think i'm gonna fade away."
Shelters can be found in the most improbable of places. Say, the middle of a river.
A shelter can be any shape or size. The design of shelters change based on their environment and the needs of the occupants.
Eco-friendly shelters made out of used shipping containers are big right now. Above you see a shipping container home designed by an artist. It is meant to be easily assembled and disassmebled should the property ever be sold.
Here is another artistic shelter created out of shipping containers. Like the artist's residence above, this one is multi-story. The perpendicular placement serves to create lots of outdoor space. The upper container provides a projecting roof above the entrance as well as serves to shelter the back terrace. The ceiling of the bottom container is also a terrace of the first floor.
Who says container homes can't also be chic? This Chilean home features great modern design and can assembled in less than 90 days. It's completely eco-friendly and looks towards a future of green homes created from recycled materials.
A shelter protects inhabitants from the elements, which of course vary from environment to environment. This round military-style shelter can be assembled quickly and is suitable for use in a number of regions.
Shelters can be found as well as built. Above you see the Kephart Shelter, a cabin at the end of the Kephart Prong trail in the Smoky Mountains where hikers put up their feet after completing the walk.
Here's a prefab eco shelter that can be flown out to the slopes and removed when skiing season is over.
How about a sea shelter?
A shelter is as unique as the person who takes refuge within its walls.
be large or small.
A shelter need not be the shape of a box. It can be a zig-zag as demonstrated by Pedro Reyes' construction above.
These skating shelters by Patkau Architects are shaped specifically to shield skaters from better Canadian winds and placed to resemble a huddled group of people, shielding each other from the bitter chill.
Is this a photo of extra-terrestrials' first contact with humanity? No, it's a pre-fab pod shelter in Mexico with three stories made out of recycled materials by Broissin architects.
A shelter in the Australian Outback looks like a watchtower, but inside is a cozy retreat for outdoorsy Aussies to enjoy the natural beauty of their country. It was designed by Casey Brown Architecture.
Or even a standalone structure. You can make a shelter in your own house.
The interiors of shelters can tell us a lot about their purpose. An eco-refuge that celebrates the environment and promotes health may have a soaking tub and tons of outdoor spaces.
While the interior of a bomb shelter reflects the grim circumstances of its existence and the basic need (read: survival) of its occupants.
A shelter can be anything you need it to be. It is as mutable as time, as changeable as weather.
We all need shelter from the storm. Find yours. MT