I came across an article recently about a Transforming building. Now being a fan of Transformers and of buildings it of course caught my attention. After doing some quick searches I found another good website with more info. The building is called the Prada Transformer and is located in Seoul. It was designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, who you may know from designing the Campus Center at IIT that has the "El" running over it's tapered roof.
The general idea is that this building is kind of like a 4-sided die. On each of the inside faces of it there is a different layout of a floor. You rotate it onto one side and it has one floor, rotate it to a different side and you get a different floor. You can see this illustrated in the picture with different shapes representing each floor layout. This allows the structure/building to be used for multiple purposes by rotating it. These four shapes you see are supposed to be the actual floor layouts. For instance one floor could be a Concert Hall and another an Art Gallery. The pictures of the exterior look like the whole thing is covered in some kind of fabric enclosure, which is interesting but somehow takes away from the overall effect. Now personally I think this is a pretty cool idea. The problem is we're not talking about a die, we're talking about a building. Seems crazy right? Well it kind of is. In order to rotate the building they have to use huge cranes. Another issue is that whatever floor layout you aren't using are actually your walls. So it's not exactly the best performing building on the market. Let's not forget about the set-up either. If you want seats for something you have to rotate the building to the right orientation and then bring in all the furniture. Not exactly practical. Especially since you can't keep the furniture in the building (the storage room might be on the ceiling if you did).
So in my opinion I think there are more creative ways to go about making a multi-functional space. That being said this is certainly a work of art in and of itself. I'm sure that the designers and developers also thought long and hard about some of these very same issues. Whatever solutions they came up with (if good or bad) they were certainly content to live with in the end. So I don't expect you'll be seeing something like this in your hometown anytime soon, but it is worth taking a look at just to see what lessons can be learned. Plus it's not exactly easy to miss walking down the street.