Consciously or otherwise, architects constantly borrow inspiration from their surroundings – sometimes plants, animals and the natural environment, but other times from strange man-made objects like the four-legged concrete tetrapods used by coastal engineers to break up incoming waves, reduce soil erosion and infrastructure corrosion.
These simple shapes were once patented property, but are now free for anyone to use – including cities threatened by sudden tsunamis or industrial-oriented designers like Hugon Kowalski, compelled by their physical properties and unique structural potentials.
In his architectural version, these giant-sized variants contain four spokes radiating out from the center. The tapered cylindrical shaft facing upward serves as an above-water entrance (except in emergencies, when it must be sealed from inside if submerged). The other three act as master bedroom/bathroom, kitchen and living room.
Though a fascinating formal tribute to this long-used seaside shape, there is a limit to which these same principles are usefully applied to a dwelling. Tetrapods traditionally roll over time and are tracked between tides to determine changes in position – these residential designs are made to remain upright, and barring some gyroscopic system in their center would not help someone survive such shifts.
About the architect, via Culture.pl:
“Hugon Kowalski (born 1987) is an architect who searches for innovative and sometimes unusual solutions. He goes beyond standardized forms and habitual lines of thought as evidenced by his repudiation of traditional structures and materials.”
“In 2010, while still a student at the Faculty of Architecture and Design at the University of Arts in Poznań, he founded his own studio, UGO architecture. In the same year he started working at his alma mater as an assistant of Andrzej Kurzawski – the head of the Faculty of Architecture and Design. Since 2012 he has been an active member of the Poznań branch of the Management Board of Union of Polish Architects.”