10 egg-shaped architectures - London City Hall by Foster + Parners - Photo by Maciek Lulko.
10 egg-shaped architectures – London City Hall by Foster + Parners – Photo by Maciek Lulko.

Architecture – The ‘egg’ is a symbol with multiple meanings in all cultures. That’s why architects cannot restrain themselves from creating egg-shaped palaces, temples but also commercial and cultural buildings. There’s a literature of eye-brow and low-brow ovoid architectures.

We have selected some of the most impressive ones. One was never built, some are extremely courageous, at least two ones caused controversies and – OK, let’s admit it – more than one can be considered tacky… Check’em out!

Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres

Dali's Theatre-Museum in Figueres - Photo TK 173.
Dali’s Theatre-Museum in Figueres – Photo TK 173.

Egg are a recurring element in Salvador Dali’s paintings and artworks. They are linked to perfection and are often associated to the artist’s rebirth. Such idea is very much alive in the eggs he used to decorate the outside of his house at Portlligat and Torre Galatea, at the Dalí’s Theatre-Museum in Figueres.

London City Hall by Foster+Partners

London City Hall by Foster + Parners - Photo by Maciek Lulko
London City Hall by Foster + Parners – Photo by Maciek Lulko.

The mayor of Paris is based in a XVI century royal palace, his colleague in London goes to work in an egg on the River Thames. Hatched in 2002, the architecture by Foster + Partners was supposed to “demonstrates the potential for a sustainable, virtually non-polluting public building”. The bulbous shape was conceived to reduce the surface area and improve energy efficiency, but the excess energy consumption caused by the exclusive use of glass – in a double facade – overwhelms the benefit of the shape.

Tadao Ando’s ‘urban eggs’

Nakanoshima Project II by Tadao Ando - Photo by Archipanic.
Nakanoshima Project II by Tadao Ando – Photo by Archipanic.

Osaka’s mayor could have had his own egg too. Tadao Ando’s envisioned an egg-shaped shell within Osaka City Hall. Conceived in 1988-99, the Nakanoshima Project II was never built. During the debate to determine whether to destroy or preserve the 1918 historical space due to its state of decay, Ando decided to highlight the contrast between the old and the new by leaving the outline of the building intact and inserting a new oval hall inside, surrounded by an egg shell.

Nagaragawa Convention Center by Tadao Ando - Photo Wikimedia.
Nagaragawa Convention Center by Tadao Ando – Photo: Wikimedia.

Few years later Ando finally managed to complete its egg-shaped architecture. The Nagaragawa River Convention Center was completed in 1995 to promote Gifu city as a good business destination.

La Seine Musicale by Shigeru Ban

La Seine Musicale by Shigeru Ban - Courtesy of Shigeru Ban Architects.
La Seine Musicale by Shigeru Ban – Courtesy of Shigeru Ban Architects.

In 2017, Shigeru Ban has completed La Seine Musicale auditorium on the banks of the River Seine in Paris. Spread over an area of 34.500 sqm the building features a wooden hull, giving an impression that it’s floating on the river. The main sail of the building is fitted with 1,000 square meters of photovoltaic solar panels, which follow the course of the sun.

National Centre for the Performing Arts by Paul Andreu

National Grand Theatre in Beijing - Photo by Hui Lan
National Grand Theatre in Beijing – Photo by Hui Lan.

In 20017, in view of Beijing Olympics Games, French architect Paul Andreu, has inaugurated the National Centre for the Performing Arts in the Chinese capital. An artificial lake surrounds and reflects an ellipsoid dome in titanium and glass. Located between Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden city, the ultra modern architecture created great controversy for contrasting too much with the historical sites. The construction turned out to be much more expensive than expected. Once completed, the water and electricity bills and the cleaning and maintaining costs skyrocketed too.

Philological Library by Foster + Partners

Philological Library - Free Universiy of Berlin - Photo by Nigel Young - Foster Partners
Philological Library – Free Universiy of Berlin – Photo by Nigel Young – Foster Partners.

Foster + Partners‘ four-level library for the Free University of Berlin -2005 – looks like a beautifully checkered egg shell which houses over 700,000 books. The staggered glass openings allow for natural ventilation and shading to help manage temperature and daylight.

Inside the Philological Library - Free Universiy of Berlin - Paola Soler-Moya.
Inside the Philological Library – Free Universiy of Berlin – Paola Soler-Moya.

An inner membrane of translucent glass fibre filters sunlight and creates an atmosphere of concentration,” explains Norman Fosters. “Scattered window openings create changing patterns of light and shade, with momentary view of the sky and glimpses of sunlight”.

Museum De Fundatie by Hubert-Jan Henket

Museum De Fundatie - Photo by Ebelien.
Museum De Fundatie – Photo by Ebelien.

The Museum De Fundatie in Zwolle, Germany, is a Neoclassical building topped by a unique egg-shaped structure and a golden goose designed by Hubert-Jan Henket. The extension accommodates two exhibition rooms with a total surface area of almost 1,000 m². A large oval window offers a view of the historic inner city. On the outside the superstructure is clad with 55,000 white-blue tiles.

Hong Kong’s Golden Egg

Hong Kong’s Golden Egg - Wikimedia.
Hong Kong’s Golden Egg – Wikimedia.

Designed in the shape of a golden egg, the building inside the Hong Kong Science Park is not a space age starship by the Charles K Kao Auditorium – inaugurated in 2009 and named after the Nobel Prize Physician. [Watch the video]

Cyberarchitecture Egg by James Law Cybertecture

Cyberarchitecture Egg - Image by James Law Cybertecture.
Cyberarchitecture Egg – Image by James Law Cybertecture.

James Law Cybertecture’s future-forward ovoid commercial building in Mumbai’s central business district has been parametrically designed to minimise solar gain and high efficiency floor plates with innovative column-less steel diagrid shell structure. Titled The Cyberarchitecture Egg, the bombastic green building will feature a rooftop garden, and sustainable green office spaces.

Inside London City Hall - Ph. by User:Collin.
Inside Foster+Partners’ London City Hall – Ph. by User:Collin.