Irrational Reality

View all 10 Photos

armadillo-vault-escobedo-group-gessato-2

“Nodding to the master builders of the past, we use constraints to achieve the ‘impossible.’”
Indeed, the concept behind the Armadillo Vault would seem almost inconceivable to the untrained eye. But the Escobedo Group, a Texan architecture firm led by renowned builder David Escobedo, in collaboration with John Ochsendorf of MIT and Philippe Block of the Block Research Group, decided to embark on this journey to employ ancient design principles within a modern context.

The construction of the “most complex stone vault…built in generations” began with limestone mined from a quarry in West Texas, which became 399 cut and shaped stones (some as thin as 2 inches). Named for its resemblance to an armadillo’s shell, the tessellated structure is a “modern-day cathedral” based on voussoir geometry, forming a womb-like space that encourages meditation and reflection. Flat surfaces and sharp corners on each scale contrast with the graceful arch they form and the rough stone that hides underneath. Just months from its conception, it now stands freely — with nothing more than compression as a support — at the center of the Corderie all’Arsenale in Venice as one of many impressive architectural works in this year’s La Biennale di Venezia, “Reporting From the Front.” Despite its lack of foundation, the Armadillo Vault fills the room with a mystifying confidence, a bold assertion of its relevance. Designed to both conserve materials and stand the test of time, it marks the exact meeting point between aesthetic and utility, past and present. The 15th International Architecture Exhibition will be on display until November 27.

armadillo-vault-escobedo-group-gessato-8

armadillo-vault-escobedo-group-gessato-5

armadillo-vault-escobedo-group-gessato-7

Lizzie Wright

Lizzie

​Lizzie Wright is an aspiring artist and designer with a passion for the written word. While she works on her BFA in Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), she spends her (rare) spare time riding around Providence on her trusty Cannondale and drinking lots of coffee. She is especially fascinated by the dichotomy between aesthetic form and function, which has an immense influence on her work. As a lover of the natural world, Lizzie plans to focus on Nature, Culture, and Sustainability Studies to pursue a more efficient future for design. Read more by visiting her website

Featured Products Explore new arrivals at the Gessato Shop

Take me there

  • Zallinger Refuge

    A thoughtful renovation and expansion of historical buildings in the Alps. Dating back to the…

  • Dá Licença Hotel In Portugal

    One-of-a-kind, this retreat celebrates the heritage and culture of Alentejo. During their travels, Vitor Borges…

  • The Wuyuan Skywells Hotel

    A 300-year-old traditional Chinese building transformed into a high-end hotel. Nestled in the Yan village…

  • Design Destination: Melbourne

    A complete travel guide to Melbourne, your next design destination. The cultural capital of Australia,…

More for you

                array(5) {
  ["post__not_in"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    int(167208)
  }
  ["tag__not_in"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    int(16203)
    [1]=>
    int(9208)
  }
  ["posts_per_page"]=>
  int(12)
  ["caller_get_posts"]=>
  int(1)
  ["cat"]=>
  int(6178)
}
            
  • Family house in Litvínovice

    A minimalist design that enhances both privacy and outdoor spaces. Located near the city of…

  • Gafarim House

    An exploration of contrasts via contemporary architecture. Designed by Tiago do Vale Arquitectos, this house…

  • A Country House In Chievo, Italy

    A charming house that celebrates a rural setting via thoughtful design. Built in a beautiful…

  • The Lake House

    A serene house that welcomes the waterfront inside living spaces. Designed by Seattle-based architecture firm…

  • Residence J&C

    A semi-permanent home that offers the perfect respite from city living. Built in the small…

  • Caldera House

    A ski retreat that will make your winter more memorable. Nestled in the center of…

  • The Aloha Surf Bar

    A concrete and glass structure that mirrors a sandy coastal landscape. Located in Vila do…

  • House A by Whispering Smith

    A concrete house that complements its minimalist design with a carbon neutral build. Designed by…

  • Lochside House

    An off-grid home that celebrates the beauty of a rugged Scottish landscape. Built in the…

  • Hercule House by 2001 Studio

    A house that resembles an ice monolith emerging from the ground. Located in Mondorf-les-Bains, in…

Close Cart