Rope has been a tool used throughout time to pull, tug, loft, tie, connect, carry, lift, and attach. Its no wonder that it is also used in many forms of vernacular and nomadic architecture as a tool in which to assemble, connect and join components. Since then, however, rope has been transformed through industry to do much more. While wondering about the hundreds of ways in which knotting of rope can be used, it became clear that knotting as a method is not the only way that rope can be utilized. Instead of using rope as a tool to fulfill other tasks, I wondered how rope can be used in its simplistic state to influence form and shape of a space.
The following are stunning projects that were stumbled upon while obsessively searching “rope architecture”.
Eco Pavilion 2011 / MMX
This pavilion is not only seeking to be a presence within an existing courtyard but to highlight and enhance the museum that is resides within. The museum, being a compilation of skewed spaces, directly correlates with the somewhat hyperbolic paraboloids that this form embodies. The rope symbolically inherits the interwoven spaces and light that creates new depth of fields, perspectives and sight lines. The processional influence simultaneously creates an interactive and changing quality of the space maintaining fluid motions of light and dynamism making this project an interesting intervention. Rope that is utilized in this project is harmoniously elusive while being structurally simple, rhythmic, yet rigid.
Rope Pavilion / KNE Studio
This pavilion is using rope as skin in conjunction with a birch wood structure to create a warming hut for Winnipeg’s Assiniboine River Skating Trail. The pavilion is shaped to retain heat while the rope skin helps light play and absorption, as it also is capable of repelling and blocking precipitation (mainly snow). As the structure is seemingly open, the rope is capable of blocking harsh winds, snow, and rain while directing the precipitation downward helping the structure to become embedded within the site. Rope as skin, in this context, is fairly successful at creating a contoured and rounded form.
Sake Bar / Architects Eat
The method of utilizing rope as an interior accent and form contouring technique is unique. The interior space is bound by rope, accenting other natural materials and vegetation used in the project. The ropes give the space a direction, a sharpness and sophistication while remaining quite ubiquitous and simple in materiality–maintaining structure and rhythm.
The interesting thing about all of these projects is that they are unique, while using a ubiquitous rope material that is capable of embodying many notions of form and structure. Whether dynamic and fluid, contoured and round, or structured and rhythmic, rope is proving itself to be a material that is capable of forming interesting spaces that can interact with its surroundings better than other rigid materials.