Colorful Architecture

As architecture students we’ve all learned at some point about Antonio Gaudi and his style of work using natural forms and gravity. His work made us think about architecture is an entirely new way. Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam does so similary in her work as a textile artist but a lot more colorful! From her studies in school and work afterwards, she continued to think about textiles and what it meant to apply surface design to textiles. After her research of Gaudi, she realized that “his forms are naturally connected to textiles (Quirk).” This led to her book From a Line and studies of textiles from its simple form, thread, to a 3-dimensional form studying it through tension and force of gravity. THM’s project that she developed studied the relationship between textile, tension and gravity, ultimately connecting her work and design with human interaction, children preferably. With the textile she created playgrounds suspended from above like the nets you would find at playgrounds or rope courses.

All of this is interesting and the article I read was informative, don’t get me wrong, but I think that there is way more to her studies that I understood rather than what was said. What I found that was interesting had nothing to do with the large span of thread but another feature of her design, these hanging balls of thread that are attached to the large spans above and children could swing on them.

Playground developed by THM

Her studies, to me at least, proved and made me aware of how strong this material but also design truly was. Even though I played on similar structures when I was young (spanning rope surfaces), I never saw it taken to this extent or knew that it could. We wonder what materials can teach us and how we can interact its users. I believe that her project does just that. In the article she mainly talks about the long spans of netting and the effects of gravity but all I see is the true strength that she is demonstrating to us. She states, “I like textiles as a material – thin, flexible and strong.  After so many years’ use it becomes worn out and disappears, just as each human life does … (Quirk).” Not all materials fade or wear out to where we can understand it to its fullest but this material we can. As children play we can learn even more how the material lives and the stages of its life cycle. Her use of textiles creates natural forms but also provides us with new information on how material can teach us something new through not only design but interaction.

Children interacting with THM’s design

Source: Quirk , Vanessa. “Meet the Artist Behind Those Amazing, Hand-Knitted Playgrounds” 28 Nov 2012.ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Nov 2012. <;


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