Todd Van Duren
Architecture has always had a big influence on me. Shelter is one of our most basic needs. We can make do with a few poles and some palm fronds, but we desire to create far more grandiose structures in which to live. Ever since I was a wee little tot, I have been drawn to and inspired by the many forms and styles which humanity has expressed itself through architecture.
The practicalities of everyday life have dictated much of the architecture that we have seen. Forms are limited by their geographic location, intended function, ease of use, cost of materials, and all too often by a desire to make the largest structure possible while still satisfying the other limitations. Form is often compromised in the process, both in the singular form of the building as well as its physical location and position relative to its surroundings.
As a conceptual expression of my interests, my architectural forms do not need to satisfy many of the practical concerns of full-scale, functional structures. I can build forms which are free to curve and bend and lean over. Gravity is not a concern, and I don't much think about whether the floors will be slanted and the dishes will fall off the table. Scale is secondary to form, so I need not worry if my structures are too skinny or too fat and whether these forms match the geometry of the average person.
One very immediate influence on how I see architecture is Roger Dean. A central theme in Dean's work is the notion of what architecture might look like if it grew naturally. Conversely, what would architecture look like if it's primary goal was to mimic nature? I have always found this concept quite fascinating, and have long been frustrated that much architecture serves to dominate or even eliminate its natural surroundings.
Dean's vision is not the only influence on my work, but it is a very important and central concept I like to explore. I see buildings and structures almost as living entities. They grow and evolve on their own design. Forms may be organic or crystalline or based on a mathematical notion of repetition through scale, (ie, fractals). Architecture free from constraint.