Top 5 Unconventional & Eye-Catchy Examples of Fractals in Architecture

Architecture aims to stay timeless but only a few can be called ‘Marvels’.
Fractals in Architecture have managed to create marvels over structures.

Thu Sep 1, 2022

Have you ever come across the concept of fractals in architecture? The intricately woven pattern of similar shapes in varying scales?

The term “fractal geometry” was highlighted by Benoit Mandelbrot, a mathematician. He defined it as mathematical numbers that appear with a certain self-similarity all the time regardless of their scale. These never-ending patterns knit an enticing detail with a repetitive rhythm of its own. From a tiny snowflake to massive geographic rocks, each natural element is proof of the existence of fractal geometry in nature. No wonder architecture took inspiration to incorporate fractals in design.

Fractals in architecture have gained popularity owing to the natural essence embedded within them that strikes an emotional connection, leading to bold and beautiful architectural detail. Fractal geometry in nature is taken as an inspiration to fit in the architectural context which in turn, minimizes the complexity and leads to an organic design.

The realm of futuristic design demands the application of fractal geometry for its unparalleled aesthetics and stimulating experience. Learning about fractals has become vital to approach architecture in a much more emotionally-responsive way. From ancient Hindu temples to new-age architecture, one can witness fractals in the most soothing forms. Let’s take a look at the 5 unconventional examples of fractals in architecture.

Top 5 Projects that have used Fractals in Architecture

  1. Fractalized Residential Tower in Quito by Safdie Architects

A small site next to the La Carolina park holds a tall surprise with fractals! The collaboration of Safdie Architects with Uribe and Schwarzkopf construction firm led to Quorner– one of the tallest structures in Quito. 

Image Source: Archdaily

The small plot maximizes its utility with staggering forms of indoor and outdoor spaces. There’s a sense of connection with the neighborhood context that’s developed through the green facade on the northern side.

Image Source: Archdaily

The fractalized residence offers mesmerizing views of the city as you dip into the oasis of refreshment on the terrace level in the swimming pool. While the project is a one-of-its-kind in the locality, the entire design has been developed on the basic repetition of cubes– with a few pushed in and a few pulled out.

2. Mark Foster Gage by Desert Resort

Image source: MFGA

The Desert Resort in the middle east has extensively played with fractals in the entire design. Each design element plays with varying shapes and forms from the garden’s canopy to the main structure. The existence of fractal geometry in nature is what makes the design sit well in the site context.

Image source: MFGA

Apart from the design, the use of natural materials and grains is what makes the project even more enticing and soothing.

3. Never Never Cube by Studio Ardete

Image Source: Archdaily

The design of Never Never Cube by Studio Ardete was aimed to induce a certain level of jazz and class to the context. The commercial structure nestled in an industrial area brings a unique perspective with its grey boxed facade. The client’s brief demanded a lavish design which was achieved by fractal architecture.

Image Source: Archdaily

The open plan and restricted height led to playing around with design elements in the facade. Architects have managed to extract grandeur out of a simple box that isn’t only aesthetically pleasing to look at but also brings a sense of comfort to the users.

Image Source: Archdaily

The enticing geometry with parallelepipeds leads to fractals of sun deck that welcome plenty of natural light inside and promise ventilation. This in turn has resulted in a structure that breathes and sparks bright within its settings.

4. Fractal Skyscraper in New York City by ODA

Image Source: Dezeen

The 118-meter-tall skyscraper by ODA is proposed to be the highlight of the town through its fractal architecture. While a basic cube is repeated in varying scales, a few were scooped out from the facade to offer a pixelated appeal to the design.

Image Source: Dezeen

The upper levels are sturdy on the fractals which gradually gets minimized as the ground is approached. The tapered structure led to a matchless design that stands out amongst the neighboring structures. There’s a blend of enclosure and openness in the design that resulted in green balconies ornamenting the facade naturally.

5. Mumbai Airport Terminal by SOM: Fractal Roof Canopy

Image Source: Archdaily

Mumbai’s air terminal welcomes several visitors daily and the complex patterns compose the roof. The entire pavilion is composed of a vernacular design language with local patterns and textures. These patterns conjure up a sense of engagement with their warm lighting and intricate details.

Image Source: Archdaily

The four-story terminal is adorned with mirror mosaics that get connected with light slots. The penetrated daylight offers a connection with the site’s surroundings and landscape. A modular design envelopes the existing structure and serves as the best fit in the design. The high-performance glass serves as the glazing system and offers comfortable interiors.

A Design Concept that creates Marvels….

Architecture aims to stay timeless but only a few can be called ‘Marvels’. Fractals in Architecture with their mesmerizing aesthetics in their inert nature have managed to create marvels over structures. This enticing geometry successfully establishes a deeper connection with the human mind. 

This approach of simplicity in design and complexity in appearance has become the latest trend and learning how to create one is a need. To help you create timeless designs, Futurly is hosting a one-of-its-kind workshop on Fractal Architecture using Mandelbulb and Rhinoceros 3D. Moreover, the course is especially for beginners and intermediate level to make sure that it resonates with you to take actionable steps in your career. Be a step ahead in your design career, Register Now!Fractals in ArchitectureLearn MOre

Instructor: Jack Oliva Rendler
Director of Design at E7 Architecture Studio, Harvard GSD, Sci-Arc, Los Angeles, USA


Saili Sawantt

An Architect + Writer, Saili has worked as an Architectural writer & brand storyteller where she has collaborated with firms, studios, organizations, luxury brands, events & educational institutions to communicate in the real estate & travel industry. Her recent initiatives include curating an online workshop on communication and networking within the AEC industry. She is a commentator on the design industry’s upkeep through her social handles while also being an avid reader and traveler.