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DCM and Cuisinaire

By June 1, 2009July 11th, 2011One Comment

Following swiftly on from the post on Architecture and Lego, it seems that the connection between children’s toys and architectural design may be closer linked than is publicly acknowledged. Recent attendees at the NZIA Conference will have noticed a strong similarity between the design work of Denton Corker Marshall and the children’s cognitive learning tool: Cuisinaire rods.

The aussie speaker, who should remain nameless, acknowledged that the work of DCM could be summarised as “rods, blades, fins, skins” etc, but did not appear to pick up on the mood of the audience that was more “lego, duplo, cuisinaire”. Similarity is just too mild a word.

The DCM work appeared not to be just one work with that similarity, but, from what he showed the audience, all of it. Perhaps I was missing out on some cross cultural resonance, but I would not be that happy to show an international audience how close architecture can be to child’s play.

This is what the judges ad to say about the following project:

“Denton Corker Marshall’s striking design, influenced by China’s rich culture and heritage, will provide an international waterside icon for the city. Reminiscent of the nine dancing dragons or the calligrapher’s brush stroke, the complex’s two ‘arms’ are composed of floating ribbon forms, twisting and turning along the lake setting. The exhibition hall for culture, art and education forms a ‘tail’ and ‘body’to the dragons, while the convention centre rises up to form the head of the complex.”

I think not. I think we know where those ideas really came from.

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  • m-d says:

    I think the relationship between the formal excitement of much contemporary architecture/starchitecture and child’s play has always been an apt one, it is just being made more explicit here – a big ups for that (even if an unintended consequence).

    One day, however, we just might all begin to think about what architecture is really about…