Architecture – The ‘egg’ symbol has multiple meanings in all cultures. That’s why architects cannot restrain themselves from creating egg-shaped palaces and temples but also commercial and cultural buildings. There’s literature on eye-brow and low-brow ovoid architectures. We have selected some of the most impressive ones. One was never built, some are incredibly courageous, at least two caused controversies and – OK, let’s admit it – more than one can be considered tacky… Check them out!
Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres
Eggs are a recurring element in Salvador Dali’s paintings and artworks. They are linked to perfection and are often associated with the artist’s rebirth. Such an 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
The mayor of Paris is based in a 16th-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 “demonstrate the potential for a sustainable, virtually non-polluting public building.” The bulbous shape was conceived to reduce the surface area and improve energy efficiency. Still, 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 egg’
Osaka’s mayor could have had his own egg too. Tadao Ando 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 eggshell.
A 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
In 2017, Shigeru Ban 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 the impression that it’s floating on the river. The mainsail of the building is fitted with 1,000 square meters of photovoltaic solar panels, which follow the sun’s course.
National Centre for the Performing Arts by Paul Andreu
In 20017, on the occasion of the Beijing Olympics Games, French architect Paul Andreu 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 maintenance costs skyrocketed too.
Philological Library by Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners‘ four-level library for the Free University of Berlin -2005 – looks like a beautifully checkered eggshell that houses over 700,000 books. The staggered glass openings allow for natural ventilation and shading to help manage temperature and daylight.
“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 a momentary view of the sky and glimpses of sunlight.”
Museum De Fundatie by Hubert-Jan Henket
The Museum De Fundatie in Zwolle, Germany, is a Neoclassical building with a unique egg-shaped roof 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
Designed in the shape of a golden egg, the building inside the Hong Kong Science Park is not a space-age starship but the Charles K Kao Auditorium – inaugurated in 2009 and named after the Nobel Prize Physician. [Watch the video].
Cyber architecture Egg 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 an innovative column-less steel diagrid shell structure. Titled The Cyber architecture Egg, the bombastic green building will feature a rooftop garden and sustainable green office spaces.