M Arch Living Architecture


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Presentation slides for MArch Bartlett Students of Neil Spiller's AVATAR group. An outline of Living Architecture, the kinds of processes, materials and examples of architectural design outcomes.

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M Arch Living Architecture

  1. 1. MArch lecture Living Architecture Rachel Armstrong TEDGlobal Fellow, Teaching Fellow, AVATAR group The Bartlett School of Architecture [email_address]
  2. 2. Living Cities <ul><li>“ Historically, the city has been seen as either mechanistic or biological in its order” </li></ul><ul><li>Neil Spiller, Digital Dreams </li></ul>
  3. 3. Urban Paleontology Ming Tang, Dihua Yang, 2008
  4. 4. Biological Formalism <ul><li>Use of biological metaphor </li></ul><ul><li>Common conceptual framework </li></ul><ul><li>Doctrine that formal structure rather than content is what should be represented </li></ul><ul><li>Shared methodological tools </li></ul><ul><li>the practice of scrupulous adherence to prescribed or external forms </li></ul><ul><li>Top-down process </li></ul>
  5. 5. Growing Architecture Molecular House, Mohammed Alkayer
  6. 6. City as An Organism <ul><li>“ ... Like any organism [a city] has a circulatory system in its streets, railroads and rivers, a brain in its universities and planning offices, a digestive system in its food distribution and sewage lines, muscles in its industrial centres and any city worthy of the name has an erogenous zone ...” </li></ul><ul><li>Matthew Dumont, Arthropods </li></ul>
  7. 7. MEtreePOLIS, Matthias Hollwich
  8. 8. MEtreePOLIS, Matthias Hollwich
  9. 9. Inertia of Real Cities <ul><li>The city is not an organism – it is made of inert materials </li></ul><ul><li>The built environment consists of unrelated objects that are secondarily connected to each other to create the urban landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Apparent vitality conferred by the behaviour of living systems within the built environment </li></ul>
  10. 10. Brazil, Terry Gilliam
  11. 11. Contemporary Materials <ul><li>Materials of built environment are not dynamic, they are simple, including the current generation of ‘smart’ materials </li></ul><ul><li>Limited meaningful embodied integration of different media </li></ul><ul><li>Currently parallel architectural spaces are accessed by cross-referral, analogy, metaphor & interfaced via human ‘experience’ </li></ul>
  12. 12. Twelve Monkeys, Terry Gilliam
  13. 13. Connecting Artifice & Nature <ul><li>Requires a fundamental change in the organization model that describes the relationship between building materials and the environment </li></ul>
  14. 14. Hylazoic Soil, Philip Beesley
  15. 15. Living Architecture <ul><li>New model of sustainable architectural practice that directly connects the built environment to nature </li></ul><ul><li>The unit of Living Architecture is the Architectural protocell </li></ul>
  16. 16. Architectural Protocell <ul><li>A protocell is a primordial atomic globule, connected to the environment through the languages of physics and chemistry. Uniquely, protocell technology possesses material complexity, and is capable of self-organisation </li></ul>
  17. 17. Architectural Protocell <ul><li>Protocells can be made of pre-existing biological materials such as protoplasm – for example, the protoplasm of the green algae Bryopsis and slime mould – or can be fabricated from scratch using organic and inorganic chemicals </li></ul>
  18. 18. Architectural Protocell <ul><li>This gives rise to the possibility of Protocell Architecture, as protocell units work together to generate their output </li></ul>
  19. 19. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>We want to change the world with almost nothing.  </li></ul><ul><li>It is possible to generate complex materials and architectures through harnessing the fundamental energetics of matter. In other words, doing more with less </li></ul>
  20. 20. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>What we call protocell architecture is, at root, a piece of Dadaist and Surrealist research, in which all the lofty questions have become involved </li></ul><ul><li>The novel self-assembling material systems that arise from protocell architectural practice make no reference to, nor attempt to mimic bio-logic. As such, protocell architecture is an alien to the natural world, yet speaks the same fundamental languages of chemistry and physics. The results of these conversations and interactions constitute a parallel biology and second biogenesis whose aesthetics are described by Surrealist agendas </li></ul>
  21. 21. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>Architecture is dead, long live architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Protocells constitute a disruptive technology for architectural practice since they are capable of reaching a transition point when evolution emerges within the system, the outcome of which is unpredictable and therefore offer novel and surprising ways of constructing architecture that will succeed and replace conventional technologies </li></ul>
  22. 22. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>Protocell architecture swallows contrast and all contradictions including the grotesquery and illogicality of life </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell technology is at the beginning of an evolutionary pathway that is connected to and dependent on the environmental conditions around it. The responsiveness of protocells to stimuli, means they can be regarded as computing units. Consequently, protocells do not seek to generate idealized architectural forms but reflect and interpret the full spectrum of the processes they encounter in the real world </li></ul>
  23. 23. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>What is generally termed life is really a frothy nothing that merely connects </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell technology offers an opportunity for architects to engage with the evolutionary process itself. Unlike natural biological systems that evolve randomly according to Darwinian evolution, protocell technology allows deliberate and specific interventions throughout the entire course of its coming into being. By moving and metabolizing, protocells may form the basis for a synthetic surface ecology. These interventions are the basis of what we call protocell architecture </li></ul>
  24. 24. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>We do not wish to imitate nature, we do not wish to reproduce nature, we want to produce architecture in the way a plant produces its fruit. We do not want to depict, we want to produce directly, not indirectly, since there is no trace of abstraction. We call it Protocell Architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell Architecture embodies the principles of emergence, bottom-up construction techniques and self-assembly. It is equipped with design ‘handles’ that enable the architect to persuade rather than dominate the outcome of the system through physical communication. As such, these systems are unknowable, surprising and anarchic. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>We want to collage effective biological machinery that composes itself according to the drivers of design </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell Architecture is chemically programmable and operates in keeping with the organizing principles of physics and chemistry </li></ul>
  26. 26. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>We want over and over again, movement and connection; we see peace only in dynamism </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell Architecture gathers its energy from the tension that resides at an interface between two media such as oil and water, which causes movement, disruption and change. Protocell Architecture resists the equilibrium since this constitutes death </li></ul>
  27. 27. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>The head is round, so thoughts can revolve. The head of architecture is green, robust, synthesized and exists everywhere simultaneously, whether it is large or very, very small </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell Architecture is fashioned from ‘low tech biotech’ characterised by ubiquitous, durable and affordable materials </li></ul>
  28. 28. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>We wish to blur the firm boundaries, which self-certain people delineate around all we can achieve </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell Technology becomes a co-author in the production of architecture through the possession of living properties and its ability to self-assemble </li></ul>
  29. 29. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>We tell you the tricks of today are the truths of tomorrow </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell Architecture is better adapted to the prevailing physical and social conditions since it is founded on a new set of technologies that are not ‘alive’ but which possess some of the properties of living systems. As such these technologies are qualitatively different to the industrial and digital technologies that have become the mainstream tools of the twentieth century </li></ul>
  30. 30. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>We will work with things that we do not want to design, things that already have systematic existence </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell Technology has the capacity to transform and modify existing building materials and architecture with the potential for surprise </li></ul>
  31. 31. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>You know as much as we do that architecture is nothing more than rhythms and connections </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell Architecture embodies the complexity of materials in a literal, rather than metaphorical manner and becomes a physical part of our existence </li></ul>
  32. 32. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>We will construct exquisite corpses not dead but alive and useful </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell Architecture is central to the understanding of living systems. It allows us to work with and enhance the unavoidable inconsistency which is the essence of life itself </li></ul>
  33. 33. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism <ul><li>We deal in a second aesthetic, one that initiates beginnings and moulds with natural forces </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell Architecture is connected to the environment through constant conversation and energy exchange with the natural world in a series of chemical interactions called ‘metabolism’. This involves the conversion of one group of substances into another, either by absorbing or releasing energy - doing more with less </li></ul>
  34. 34. Architecture as Biosphere <ul><li>Living Architecture is part of the biosphere </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated through common chemical language called metabolism </li></ul><ul><li>Metabolism connects living systems to the environment </li></ul>
  35. 35. Metabolic Materials <ul><li>Materials that are capable of metabolism </li></ul><ul><li>These materials are ‘living’ and can be thought of as Living Technology </li></ul>
  36. 36. Living Technology <ul><li>Possess some but not all of the properties of living systems </li></ul><ul><li>Qualitatively different to 20 th century technologies with which we are familiar </li></ul><ul><li>Capable of growth, movement, sensitivity, repair, complex behaviour and even reproduction </li></ul>
  37. 37. Low Tech Biotech <ul><li>For practical purposes in the built environment, these materials need to be robust, safe, ubiquitous and inexpensive </li></ul>
  38. 38. Innovation by Design <ul><li>Use existing metabolic systems and materials to create the desired outcome: </li></ul><ul><li>Crystal growth (biomorphic) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Cellular Gardening’ of indigenous microorganisms for selected characteristics </li></ul>
  39. 39. Roger Hiorns, Seizure Seizure, Roger Hiorns
  40. 40. Seizure, Roger Hiorns
  41. 41. Seizure, Roger Hiorns
  42. 42. Silicon-Fixing Bacteria Silicon Fixing Bacteria, Simon Park
  43. 44. Dune, Magnus Larsson
  44. 45. Dune, Magnus Larsson
  45. 46. Dune, Magnus Larsson
  46. 47. Bioluminescence Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
  47. 48. Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
  48. 49. Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
  49. 50. Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
  50. 51. Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
  51. 52. Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
  52. 53. Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
  53. 54. Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
  54. 55. Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
  55. 56. Slime Mould Slime Mould, Shin Tseng
  56. 58. Slime Mould, Shin Tseng
  57. 59. Slime Mould, Simon Park
  58. 60. Slime Mould, Simon Park
  59. 61. Slime Mould, Soichiro Tsuda
  60. 62. Slime Mould, Soichiro Tsuda
  61. 63. Slime Mould, Soichiro Tsuda
  62. 64. Slime Mould, Soichiro Tsuda
  63. 65. Slime Mould, Soichiro Tsuda
  64. 69. Diatoms
  65. 70. Diatom Factory, Shin Tseng
  66. 71. Diatom Factory, Shin Tseng
  67. 72. Diatom Factory, Shin Tseng
  68. 73. Diatom Factory, Shin Tseng
  69. 74. Diatom Factory, Shin Tseng
  70. 75. Plant/Human Nail, Shin Tseng
  71. 76. Bryopsis Bryopsis, Alexandru Vladimirescu
  72. 77. Bryopsis, Alexandru Vladimirescu
  73. 78. Bryopsis & GFP Modified Bacteria, Alexandru Vladimirescu
  74. 79. Bryopsis & Magnetic Particles, Alexandru Vladimirescu
  75. 81. Bryopsis, Andrew Paine
  76. 82. Coralina Coralina, Alexandru Vladimirescu
  77. 83. Coralina, Alexandru Vladimirescu
  78. 84. Limestone
  79. 85. Living Rocks Blue Green Algae, Alexandru Vladimirescu
  80. 87. Stromatolite
  81. 92. Innovation by Invention <ul><li>Low tech, chemical computers </li></ul><ul><li>Protocell technology: an example of Living Technology </li></ul><ul><li>NO DNA </li></ul><ul><li>Based on the chemistry of oils </li></ul><ul><li>Programmable using inorganic chemistry </li></ul><ul><li>Can produce architectural outcomes </li></ul>
  82. 93. Protocell Technology Protocell, Martin Hanczyc
  83. 94. Protocell Cluster Protocells, Martin Hanczyc
  84. 95. Modification of Environment Protocells, Martin Hanczyc
  85. 96. Skin Shedding Protocell, Martin Hanczyc
  86. 97. Producing Solid Material
  87. 98. Protocell Pearl
  88. 99. Protocell Shell
  89. 100. Sustainably Reclaiming Venice <ul><li>Protocell technology programmed to move away from light and deposit limestone under the wood pile foundations of the historic city </li></ul><ul><li>Generation of an artificial reef </li></ul><ul><li>New ecological niches for marine organisms </li></ul>
  90. 101. Protocell Technology Protocell technology Programmed to create solid out of dissolved carbon dioxide Courtesy Christian Kerrigan
  91. 102. Protocell Photosensitivity Protocell technology under wood piles underneath Venice Programmed to move away from light filled canals to darkened foundations Courtesy Christian Kerrigan
  92. 103. Protocell Activation Protocell technology petrifying foundations Protocell technology forms solid materials by crystallization and accretion Courtesy Christian Kerrigan
  93. 104. Venetian Artificial Reef Artificial Reef underneath Venice Sensitive to environmental variables and local marine ecology Courtesy Christian Kerrigan
  94. 105. Stop Press: Plastic Protocells Plastic coated oil droplet, Andrew Loxley
  95. 106. Stop Press: Protein Protocells Protein coated oil droplet, Andrew Loxley
  96. 107. E-ink Jacket
  97. 108. Summary <ul><li>Living Architecture is a new way of thinking about creating the built environment since it uses a bottom up approach to construction </li></ul><ul><li>Living Architecture is in direct conversation with the environment through the physics and chemistry of the fundamental matter which can be thought of an ‘architectural protocell’ </li></ul>
  98. 109. Acknowledgments <ul><li>Martin Hanczyc </li></ul><ul><li>Alexandru Vladimirescu </li></ul><ul><li>Neil Spiller </li></ul><ul><li>Christian Kerrigan </li></ul><ul><li>Shin Tseng </li></ul><ul><li>Andrew Paine </li></ul><ul><li>Andrew Loxley </li></ul><ul><li>Soichiro Tsuda </li></ul><ul><li>Simon Park </li></ul><ul><li>Matthias Hollwich </li></ul>