Published on 8/7/2019 12:00:00 AM
Can architecture come alive? Could future buildings think, and feel? The collaborative work of the Living Architecture Systems Group draws on a fundamental desire to dwell in living nature.
Researchers from the group are exploring these questions by designing new prototypes of experimental architecture. These extremely lightweight, flexible structures are interwoven with miniature computers controlling mechanisms that can sense, explore, and learn from viewers. The work is organized the same as a coral reef or a swarm of insects, with large numbers of many individual parts. These systems are connected together, passing signals back and forth so that the entire environment works as a whole. Interconnected vessels contain a liquid synthetic biology that can absorb and exchange materials from the atmosphere. Digitally fabricated components make meshwork scaffolds with mechanical fronds that gently stir the air. Cricket-like acoustic mechanisms make constantly-shifting choruses of whisper sounds, responding to movement of viewers. Working together, these systems suggest new ways of building adaptive, sensitive buildings of the future.
The Living Architecture collaboration includes architects, engineers and industrial designers from research centres within North America and Europe, led by artist and architect Philip Beesley of Waterloo Architecture. Design methods from the Living Architecture Systems Group are now being used to train emerging generations of architects and engineers, providing them with the skills they need to work with complex interconnected sustainable environments.
Photo by The Work of the Living Architecture Systems Group & Philip Beesley Architect Inc.