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How to build an icon

[ISOVER BLOG] As we move closer to the initial stages of judging in the Isover Multi-Comfort House competition, we take a look at what it takes to design a truly iconic building

Why do some buildings stand the test of time and become ingrained in our psyche, part of our modern culture, while some disappear from memory?

New York, home of the Isover Multi-Comfort House competition, is a playground for iconic tall buildings. The beautiful art-deco styling of the Chrysler building has acted as inspiration for everything from art to fashion and was the world’s tallest building upon its completion in 1931.

However, it was knocked off this post just 11 months later by the Empire State Building, standing at 102 storeys tall. Named as one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the structure still attracts millions of visitors annually to its panoramic observation decks, offering views across the city. When constructed, these buildings were feats of engineering, showcasing the ever expanding knowledge of the architects at the time and earning them their iconic status and a place in history.

London’s Gherkin building, with its sculptural elegance and modern curvature has quickly become one of the most instantly recognisable landmarks of the London skyline


Looking closer to home, London’s Gherkin building, with its sculptural elegance and modern curvature has quickly become one of the most instantly recognisable landmarks of the London skyline since it was completed in 2003. In stark contrast to the historical buildings that surround it, the Gherkin dared to be different and the gamble paid off, with the design winning the 2004 RIBA Stirling Prize.

The idea of designing an iconic building in accordance with the Multi-Comfort House principles is becoming increasingly important. With the construction industry shifting focus from traditional construction methods and materials to newer, more innovative, carbon friendly alternatives, the need for forward thinking has never been greater.

Something the judges will be looking for when assessing this years entries is a future icon, a building that could offer a glimpse at what the potential of environmentally aware tall buildings could be. A space offering both versatility and comfort for work and play, and one that enhances its natural surroundings.

It’s certainly a difficult task ahead for the participants this year, but we are sure that the designs will be of an extremely high standard. We hope to see the next iconic tall building in amongst the designs and we wish you all the best of luck for the competition.

  • Helen Tunnicliffe is Marketing Manager of Saint-Gobain Isover

For more information, visit www.multicomforthouse.co.uk, follow us on Twitter @IsoverUK or join our Isover UK group on Facebook.

Isover Bong

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