Daily Dose: Build With Fossils?

Add to TwitterIf you’ve never been to the Porter House Museum in Decorah, IA (and I’m guessing that many of you have not), it’s worth the trip. I can’t speak for the museum’s actual collection, since I myself haven’t gone inside, but the wall that surrounds the entrance is uniquely captivating. Constructed from rocks, minerals and fossils that were collected by the owner during his years of travel, the wall is an organic, vibrant piece of architectural artistry. I’ve included some “fun facts” about and images of additional rocks/minerals that I think architects should consider either as building materials or inspirations!

Porter House Museum Wall

Gypsum Desert Rose

First off, let’s look at desert rose. Formed from the minerals gypsum or barite together with sand, this geometric, angular rock suggests maze-like ultra-modern construction. Think staircases and skywalks – now that would be fun building to explore.




Pyrite Sun

Next up: pyrite suns. Pyrite, as you may well know, is commonly referred to as “fool’s gold,” but I bet you haven’t seen it in this radial formation before. Pyrite suns are found in shale near Sparta, IL. One theory holds that they’re actually formed when the pyrite replaces the fossilized remains of a yet un-identified organism. I’d love to see these used in an exterior veneer! Unfortunately, they’re extremely fragile and would be nearly impossible to keep intact.

Petoskey Stone

Finally, I suggest Petoskey stones. The unusual pattern on these rocks is actually revealing of the stone’s prior form as coral. When glaciers came through the area, they broke off and smoothed pieces of the bedrock – the petoskey stones. They’d be great material for buildings in rainy climates. Why? These chameleon rocks resemble chalky, dull limestone until wet – that’s when their intricate designs are made evident.

I’ve voiced the need for brilliancy of color in new architectural creations, and now I’m suggesting texture and pattern as well. I look forward to the new buildings!

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One Response

  1. See the Qatar National Museum designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel the famous French Architect inspired by the desert rose

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