Nick Ervinck: Blob Architecture

Blob Architecture

Text by David Everitt Howe
August 18, 2014
Sculpture is always associated with its historical precedents: stone, pedestals, the human form. Nick Ervinck was sick of this “lack of renewal,” as he phrased it, so he turned to one of the most bizarre forms of architecture possible, “blob architecture." A concept explored by Greg Lynn in 1995, it refers to organic, amoeba-like structures that turn their back on traditional boxy forms of building. These can look literally blob-like, as if a river of slowly-moving goo was spread over the back of a building. Such was the case with a bright, yellow, tumor-like structure Ervinck designed. He attached it to the rear of a building in Ghent, Belgium, over a bar. As Ervinck notes about blob architecture, “as a result of this new movement, architects started to remove themselves from the linear and corner-like box structures and instead turned to rounded, bulging shapes as structural forms. This constant tension between ‘box’ and ‘blob’ forms is crucial in my artistic practice.”

His sculptures follow suit; with nary a straight line, they look like exploding liquids, or feverish curls of blood, swirling around themselves and attaching to trees, sand dunes, or public parks like some bodily apparition. Using copy-and-paste techniques in a 3D software environment, Ervinck sources inspiration from basilicas, Chinese rock and trees, corals, dinosaurs, cottages, anatomical parts, Rorschach inkblots, manga, twelfth-century floral wallpaper, and other wildly disparate sources. This is not to say he’s turned his back on art fine art entirely. His work also references Jean Arp, Henry Moore, and Barbara Hepworth, among other sculptors. He likes to quote Rem Koolhaas, who claimed “where there is nothing, everything is possible. Where there is architecture, nothing (else) is possible.” Trying to combine architecture with sculpture, Ervinck says he likes to “explore the realm of the impossible by constantly pushing the limits of what we call ‘realistic.’”

If you're interested more in Ervinck's work, you can now buy his recently published monograph.