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MArch lecture   Living Architecture Rachel Armstrong TEDGlobal Fellow, Teaching Fellow, AVATAR group The Bartlett School of Architecture [email_address]
Living Cities “ Historically, the city has been seen as either mechanistic or biological in its order”  Neil Spiller, Digital Dreams
Urban Paleontology Ming Tang, Dihua Yang, 2008
Biological Formalism Use of biological metaphor Common conceptual framework Doctrine that formal structure rather than content is what should be represented  Shared methodological tools the practice of scrupulous adherence to prescribed or external forms Top-down process
Growing Architecture Molecular House, Mohammed Alkayer
City as An Organism “ ... 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 ...”  Matthew Dumont, Arthropods
MEtreePOLIS, Matthias Hollwich
MEtreePOLIS, Matthias Hollwich
Inertia of Real Cities The city is not an organism – it is made of inert materials The built environment consists of unrelated objects that are secondarily connected to each other to create the urban landscape Apparent vitality conferred by the behaviour of living systems within the built environment
Brazil, Terry Gilliam
Contemporary Materials Materials of built environment are not dynamic, they are simple, including the current generation of ‘smart’ materials Limited meaningful embodied integration of different media Currently parallel architectural spaces are accessed by cross-referral, analogy, metaphor & interfaced via human ‘experience’
Twelve Monkeys, Terry Gilliam
Connecting Artifice & Nature Requires a fundamental change in the organization model  that describes the relationship between building materials and the environment
Hylazoic Soil, Philip Beesley
Living Architecture New model of sustainable architectural practice that directly connects the built environment to nature The unit of Living Architecture is the Architectural protocell
Architectural Protocell 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
Architectural Protocell 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
Architectural Protocell This gives rise to the possibility of Protocell Architecture, as protocell units work together to generate their output
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We want to change the world with almost nothing.  It is possible to generate complex materials and architectures through harnessing the fundamental energetics of matter. In other words, doing more with less
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism What we call protocell architecture is, at root, a piece of Dadaist and Surrealist research, in which all the lofty questions have become involved 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
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism Architecture is dead, long live architecture 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
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism Protocell architecture swallows contrast and all contradictions including the grotesquery and illogicality of life 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
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism What is generally termed life is really a frothy nothing that merely connects 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
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism 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 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.
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We want to collage effective biological machinery that composes itself according to the drivers of design Protocell Architecture is chemically programmable and operates in keeping with the organizing principles of physics and chemistry
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We want over and over again, movement and connection; we see peace only in dynamism 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
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism 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 Protocell Architecture is fashioned from ‘low tech biotech’ characterised by ubiquitous, durable and affordable materials
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We wish to blur the firm boundaries, which self-certain people delineate around all we can achieve Protocell Technology becomes a co-author in the production of architecture through the possession of living properties and its ability to self-assemble
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We tell you the tricks of today are the truths of tomorrow 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
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We will work with things that we do not want to design, things that already have systematic existence Protocell Technology has the capacity to transform and modify existing building materials and architecture with the potential for surprise
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism You know as much as we do that architecture is nothing more than rhythms and connections Protocell Architecture embodies the complexity of materials in a literal, rather than metaphorical manner and becomes a physical part of our existence
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We will construct exquisite corpses not dead but alive and useful 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
Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We deal in a second aesthetic, one that initiates beginnings and moulds with natural forces 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
Architecture as Biosphere Living Architecture is part of the biosphere Integrated through common chemical language called metabolism  Metabolism connects living systems to the environment
Metabolic Materials Materials that are capable of metabolism These materials are ‘living’ and can be thought of as Living Technology
Living Technology Possess some but not all of the properties of living systems Qualitatively different to 20 th  century technologies with which we are familiar Capable of growth, movement, sensitivity, repair, complex behaviour and even reproduction
Low Tech Biotech For practical purposes in the built environment, these materials need to be robust, safe, ubiquitous and inexpensive
Innovation by Design Use existing metabolic systems and materials to create the desired outcome:  Crystal growth (biomorphic) ‘ Cellular Gardening’ of indigenous microorganisms for selected characteristics
Roger Hiorns, Seizure Seizure, Roger Hiorns
Seizure, Roger Hiorns
Seizure, Roger Hiorns
Silicon-Fixing Bacteria Silicon Fixing Bacteria, Simon Park
 
Dune, Magnus Larsson
Dune, Magnus Larsson
Dune, Magnus Larsson
Bioluminescence Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
Bioluminescent Bacteria, Simon Park
Slime Mould Slime Mould, Shin Tseng
 
Slime Mould, Shin Tseng
Slime Mould, Simon Park
Slime Mould, Simon Park
Slime Mould, Soichiro Tsuda
Slime Mould, Soichiro Tsuda
Slime Mould, Soichiro Tsuda
Slime Mould, Soichiro Tsuda
Slime Mould, Soichiro Tsuda
 
 
 
Diatoms
Diatom Factory, Shin Tseng
Diatom Factory, Shin Tseng
Diatom Factory, Shin Tseng
Diatom Factory, Shin Tseng
Diatom Factory, Shin Tseng
Plant/Human Nail, Shin Tseng
Bryopsis Bryopsis, Alexandru Vladimirescu
Bryopsis, Alexandru Vladimirescu
Bryopsis & GFP Modified Bacteria, Alexandru Vladimirescu
Bryopsis & Magnetic Particles, Alexandru Vladimirescu
 
Bryopsis, Andrew Paine
Coralina Coralina, Alexandru Vladimirescu
Coralina, Alexandru Vladimirescu
Limestone
Living Rocks Blue Green Algae, Alexandru Vladimirescu
 
Stromatolite
 
 
 
 
Innovation by Invention Low tech, chemical computers Protocell technology: an example of Living Technology NO DNA Based on the chemistry of oils Programmable using inorganic chemistry Can produce architectural outcomes
Protocell Technology Protocell, Martin Hanczyc
Protocell Cluster Protocells, Martin Hanczyc
Modification of Environment Protocells, Martin Hanczyc
Skin Shedding Protocell, Martin Hanczyc
Producing Solid Material
Protocell Pearl
Protocell Shell
Sustainably Reclaiming Venice Protocell technology programmed to move away from light and deposit limestone under the wood pile foundations of the historic city Generation of an artificial reef New ecological niches for marine organisms
Protocell Technology Protocell technology  Programmed to create solid out of dissolved carbon dioxide Courtesy Christian Kerrigan
Protocell Photosensitivity Protocell technology  under wood piles underneath Venice Programmed to move away from light filled canals to darkened foundations Courtesy Christian Kerrigan
Protocell Activation Protocell technology  petrifying  foundations Protocell technology forms solid materials by crystallization and accretion Courtesy Christian Kerrigan
Venetian Artificial Reef Artificial Reef underneath Venice Sensitive to environmental variables and local marine ecology Courtesy Christian Kerrigan
Stop Press: Plastic Protocells Plastic coated oil droplet, Andrew Loxley
Stop Press: Protein Protocells Protein coated oil droplet, Andrew Loxley
E-ink Jacket
Summary  Living Architecture is a new way of thinking about creating the built environment since it uses a bottom up approach to construction 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’
Acknowledgments Martin Hanczyc Alexandru Vladimirescu Neil Spiller Christian Kerrigan Shin Tseng Andrew Paine Andrew Loxley Soichiro Tsuda Simon Park Matthias Hollwich

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M Arch Living Architecture

  • 1. MArch lecture Living Architecture Rachel Armstrong TEDGlobal Fellow, Teaching Fellow, AVATAR group The Bartlett School of Architecture [email_address]
  • 2. Living Cities “ Historically, the city has been seen as either mechanistic or biological in its order” Neil Spiller, Digital Dreams
  • 3. Urban Paleontology Ming Tang, Dihua Yang, 2008
  • 4. Biological Formalism Use of biological metaphor Common conceptual framework Doctrine that formal structure rather than content is what should be represented Shared methodological tools the practice of scrupulous adherence to prescribed or external forms Top-down process
  • 5. Growing Architecture Molecular House, Mohammed Alkayer
  • 6. City as An Organism “ ... 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 ...” Matthew Dumont, Arthropods
  • 9. Inertia of Real Cities The city is not an organism – it is made of inert materials The built environment consists of unrelated objects that are secondarily connected to each other to create the urban landscape Apparent vitality conferred by the behaviour of living systems within the built environment
  • 11. Contemporary Materials Materials of built environment are not dynamic, they are simple, including the current generation of ‘smart’ materials Limited meaningful embodied integration of different media Currently parallel architectural spaces are accessed by cross-referral, analogy, metaphor & interfaced via human ‘experience’
  • 13. Connecting Artifice & Nature Requires a fundamental change in the organization model that describes the relationship between building materials and the environment
  • 15. Living Architecture New model of sustainable architectural practice that directly connects the built environment to nature The unit of Living Architecture is the Architectural protocell
  • 16. Architectural Protocell 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
  • 17. Architectural Protocell 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
  • 18. Architectural Protocell This gives rise to the possibility of Protocell Architecture, as protocell units work together to generate their output
  • 19. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We want to change the world with almost nothing.  It is possible to generate complex materials and architectures through harnessing the fundamental energetics of matter. In other words, doing more with less
  • 20. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism What we call protocell architecture is, at root, a piece of Dadaist and Surrealist research, in which all the lofty questions have become involved 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
  • 21. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism Architecture is dead, long live architecture 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
  • 22. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism Protocell architecture swallows contrast and all contradictions including the grotesquery and illogicality of life 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
  • 23. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism What is generally termed life is really a frothy nothing that merely connects 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
  • 24. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism 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 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.
  • 25. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We want to collage effective biological machinery that composes itself according to the drivers of design Protocell Architecture is chemically programmable and operates in keeping with the organizing principles of physics and chemistry
  • 26. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We want over and over again, movement and connection; we see peace only in dynamism 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
  • 27. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism 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 Protocell Architecture is fashioned from ‘low tech biotech’ characterised by ubiquitous, durable and affordable materials
  • 28. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We wish to blur the firm boundaries, which self-certain people delineate around all we can achieve Protocell Technology becomes a co-author in the production of architecture through the possession of living properties and its ability to self-assemble
  • 29. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We tell you the tricks of today are the truths of tomorrow 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
  • 30. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We will work with things that we do not want to design, things that already have systematic existence Protocell Technology has the capacity to transform and modify existing building materials and architecture with the potential for surprise
  • 31. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism You know as much as we do that architecture is nothing more than rhythms and connections Protocell Architecture embodies the complexity of materials in a literal, rather than metaphorical manner and becomes a physical part of our existence
  • 32. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We will construct exquisite corpses not dead but alive and useful 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
  • 33. Manifesto for protocell architecture: against biological formalism We deal in a second aesthetic, one that initiates beginnings and moulds with natural forces 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
  • 34. Architecture as Biosphere Living Architecture is part of the biosphere Integrated through common chemical language called metabolism Metabolism connects living systems to the environment
  • 35. Metabolic Materials Materials that are capable of metabolism These materials are ‘living’ and can be thought of as Living Technology
  • 36. Living Technology Possess some but not all of the properties of living systems Qualitatively different to 20 th century technologies with which we are familiar Capable of growth, movement, sensitivity, repair, complex behaviour and even reproduction
  • 37. Low Tech Biotech For practical purposes in the built environment, these materials need to be robust, safe, ubiquitous and inexpensive
  • 38. Innovation by Design Use existing metabolic systems and materials to create the desired outcome: Crystal growth (biomorphic) ‘ Cellular Gardening’ of indigenous microorganisms for selected characteristics
  • 39. Roger Hiorns, Seizure Seizure, Roger Hiorns
  • 42. Silicon-Fixing Bacteria Silicon Fixing Bacteria, Simon Park
  • 43.  
  • 56. Slime Mould Slime Mould, Shin Tseng
  • 57.  
  • 66.  
  • 67.  
  • 68.  
  • 78. Bryopsis & GFP Modified Bacteria, Alexandru Vladimirescu
  • 79. Bryopsis & Magnetic Particles, Alexandru Vladimirescu
  • 80.  
  • 85. Living Rocks Blue Green Algae, Alexandru Vladimirescu
  • 86.  
  • 88.  
  • 89.  
  • 90.  
  • 91.  
  • 92. Innovation by Invention Low tech, chemical computers Protocell technology: an example of Living Technology NO DNA Based on the chemistry of oils Programmable using inorganic chemistry Can produce architectural outcomes
  • 95. Modification of Environment Protocells, Martin Hanczyc
  • 96. Skin Shedding Protocell, Martin Hanczyc
  • 100. Sustainably Reclaiming Venice Protocell technology programmed to move away from light and deposit limestone under the wood pile foundations of the historic city Generation of an artificial reef New ecological niches for marine organisms
  • 101. Protocell Technology Protocell technology Programmed to create solid out of dissolved carbon dioxide Courtesy Christian Kerrigan
  • 102. Protocell Photosensitivity Protocell technology under wood piles underneath Venice Programmed to move away from light filled canals to darkened foundations Courtesy Christian Kerrigan
  • 103. Protocell Activation Protocell technology petrifying foundations Protocell technology forms solid materials by crystallization and accretion Courtesy Christian Kerrigan
  • 104. Venetian Artificial Reef Artificial Reef underneath Venice Sensitive to environmental variables and local marine ecology Courtesy Christian Kerrigan
  • 105. Stop Press: Plastic Protocells Plastic coated oil droplet, Andrew Loxley
  • 106. Stop Press: Protein Protocells Protein coated oil droplet, Andrew Loxley
  • 108. Summary Living Architecture is a new way of thinking about creating the built environment since it uses a bottom up approach to construction 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’
  • 109. Acknowledgments Martin Hanczyc Alexandru Vladimirescu Neil Spiller Christian Kerrigan Shin Tseng Andrew Paine Andrew Loxley Soichiro Tsuda Simon Park Matthias Hollwich