In most contexts, a cage represents imprisonment or an otherwise undesirable restriction of one's freedom. However, within the realm of architectural design, cages themselves can be freed from the negative connotation of containment: well-designed instances can dramatically enhance the structure or space they contain, framing views, creating visual dynamism, and filtering light to fantastic effect inside and out.
Wrapped in mesh, latticework, timber weaves, or slender piping, here are eight examples — including a 2015 A+Awards Special Achievement Honoree — that show how being caged is not always a bad thing:
This acclaimed Japanese restaurant in Mexico City is wrapped in a distorted lattice of white steel, illuminated with ultraviolet light at night to transform the building into an inhabitable art installation.
Each unit within this stack of apartments in Seoul, South Korea, is offset to create incidental spaces that blur the boundary between semi-public and private spaces — all tied together within a cage of twisting steel fins. Fresh off an AIANY Design Awards win, SsD will receive a Special Achievement award tonight at the 2015 Architizer A+Awards gala.
An extension to James Cook University in Australia’s tropical northeast, this research hub for humanities and social sciences is wrapped with a permeable skin that ebbs and flows to accommodate both internal and external spaces.
Philippe Samyn designed this bold, contemporary addition to the historic “Residence Palace” in Brussels due for completion next year. A huge lantern-shaped volume containing conference rooms is contained within an extraordinary cage of steel and a patchwork of reused wooden window frames.
More akin to a basket than a cage, perhaps, Ban’s new art museum in Colorado is enveloped with a weaved lattice of timber veneer that transforms the building into an illuminated lantern at dusk. Aspen Art Museum is amongst the nominations for an A+Award in the Museums category.
Like Ban, Tschumi utilized the versatile properties of timber for this history museum in France, wrapping the cylindrical building with alternating bands of inclined slats to deemphasize the overall volume of the structure.
Fujimoto’s temporary pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery encaged space rather than a physical structure, creating a complex matrix of steel members that would “blend, cloud-like, into the landscape.”
Like Fujimoto’s installation, Warren Techentin’s birdcage-like folly in Los Angeles is designed to be explored by passersby, turning the courtyard into a pocket park that encourages both “unscripted use and curated performances”. (La Cage aux Folles was an A+Awards finalist in the Pop-ups and Temporary category.)