Explosive Architecture: 10 Volcano-Inspired Structures

They’re beautiful and sinister, jutting up out of the landscape with a deceptive peace when inactive, but hiding the threat of death and destruction just beneath the surface. Perhaps it’s that element of danger that makes architects and artists hot for volcano-inspired architecture, giving that distinct sloping form to stadiums, power plants, resorts and enormous self-contained cities all over the world.

Blue Volcano Concept, Zagreb, Croatia

(images via: arch daily)

It’s easy to see why the njiric + arhiteki’s design for this civic arena, housed in an artificial hill made from rubber and paint sprayed onto sheets of corrugated aluminum, has been nicknamed ‘blue volcano’. Conceived for the city of Zagreb in Croatia, the design even features a solar-power-harvesting ‘cloud’ that floats above it, displaying game scores and other information. The cloud also protects the stadium from rain and snow, eliminating the need for a dome.

Taichung Convention Center

(images via: arch daily)

These are unlike any volcanoes you’ve ever seen – or any buildings, for that matter. MAD Architects wanted to give the Taiwanese city of Taichung a world-class architectural landmark that honors the natural landscape of the region, and the crater-like Taichung Convention Center delivers in an eccentric and unexpected way. The interconnected system of buildings is covered in a high-tech pleated ‘skin’ that provides air flow and reduces energy consumption.

Ultra Modern Volcano House, California

(images via: freshome)

With a design as severe as the desert landscape that surrounds it, this house almost looks like a spaceship perched atop a volcano. Built in 1968 in Newberry Springs, California, two hours east of Los Angeles, the Volcano House has been called a ‘modernist masterpiece’ and was, according to the Los Angeles Times, “envisioned to resemble the information center at the construction site of the nuclear generating plant in San Onofre.” The 60-acre estate is currently on the market for $750,000.

Estadio Chivas – Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico

(images via: design boom)

From a distance, it seems as if a dangerous eruption is underway: a gargantuan white cloud hovers over the mouth of a volcano. But get closer and it becomes clear that this is no ordinary volcano. Estadio Chivas in Guadalajara, Mexico features green walls made of sloped parkland, and can hold 45,000 spectators. It will take another two years for greenery to grow in so that the effect is complete.

Earthquake-Proof Solar-Powered Volcano Towers

(images via: inhabitat)

OFIS Architecture’s All-Seasons Tent Tower concept features two cylindrical structures covered in a shaded net-like mesh that supports greenery in the summertime. But unusual as it is, the mesh isn’t what makes these towers special: a system of concrete cores and composite columns within the towers make them earthquake-resistant, an important consideration in quake-prone Armenia.

Italy’s Volcano Buono Shopping Center

(images via: the coolist)

Unlike all those ‘bad volcanoes’ that erupt violently and cause plenty of problems – like Mt. Vesuvius, just a few miles away – this ‘good volcano’ has nothing but positive things to bring to the community. That is, if you like the design. Vulcano Buono blends in with the Italian landscape, and unlike many similar designs, it’s not just for sports and special events. Designed by Renzo Piano, Vulcano Buono houses a shopping mall, outdoor theater, restaurants, and a hotel. The green ‘roof’ that forms the walls of the volcanic structure supports more than 2,500 plants.

Crystal Island, Moscow

(images via: inhabitat)

Crystal Island, a massive tent-like structure conceived as a city within itself, will be the world’s largest building – if it’s ever built, that is. Foster + Partners envisions Crystal Island as a solar- and wind-powered community packed with 900 apartments, 3000 hotel rooms, an international school for 500 students, theaters, a sports complex and more all in a 1500-foot-tall structure with a footprint five times larger than that of the Pentagon building in the U.S. Construction has been delayed due to the state of the economy.

BEI-Teesside Power Plant, UK

(images via: dezeen)

Built on a reclaimed brownfield along the Tees River, the BEI-Teessidee biomass power plant by Thomas Heatherwick will rise from the industrial landscape like a modern man-made volcano. The power station, which will produce fuel from palm kernel shells, will be covered in vertical greenery to give this barren area an organic-looking focal point.

Jameos del Agua, Resort in a Volcanic Crater

(image via: web de lanzarote)

Behind a wall made of volcanic rock on the fourth-largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, there’s a startlingly beautiful secret: a hidden lagoon full of blind albino crabs that can’t be found anywhere else in the world . Jameos del Agua was formed when the ceiling of a volcanic tunnel, formed by eruptions of the Corona volcano three to four thousand years ago, collapsed into itself. Now a tourist attraction, Jameos del Agua features a swimming pool, an auditorium, gardens, restaurants and night clubs.

Roden Crater, Arizona Art Installation

(images via: grid city)

Since the 1970s, James Turrell has been crafting a highly unusual work of art: a system of chambers and tunnels inside the Roden Crater, an extinct volcano northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona. It’s not scheduled to open to the public until 2011, but speculation about the work has reached a fever pitch among art critics and collectors. The work is shrouded in secret, but the few who have visited say that it highlights aspects of the crater and its natural environment, like the stars in the sky and the subtle sounds of the desert.

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