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id acadia13_051
authors Ramirez-Figueroa, Carolina; Dade-Robertson, Martyn; Hernan, Luis
year 2013
title Adaptive Morphologies: Toward a Morphogenesis of Material Construction
source ACADIA 13: Adaptive Architecture [Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) ISBN 978-1-926724-22-5] Cambridge 24-26 October, 2013), pp. 51-60
summary Architectural discourse has recently suggested a new material practice derived from advances in the field of synthetic biology. As biological organisms can now be designed and engineered for specific purposes, it is expected that, in the near future, it will be possible to program even more complex biologically based systems. One potential application is to literally grow buildings by programming cellular organisms to fabricate and deposit material into architecturally relevant patterns. Our current design methods do not anticipate the potentially challenging material practice involved in a biologically engineered architecture, where there is a loose and emergent relationship between design and material articulation. To tackle this conflict, we developed SynthMorph, a form-finding computational tool based on basic biological morphogenetic principles. A reflection is offered on its use, discussing the effect of multicellular morphogenesis on the production of shape. We conclude that such a strategy is an adaptive design method in two ways: (a) the mechanics of design using morphological constraints involve a practice of dynamic and continuous negotiation between a design intent and material emergence, and (b) the proposed design strategy hints at the production of a biologically produced architecture, which would potentially behave as an adaptive organism.
keywords complex systems, synthetic biology, self-assembly, emergence, morphogenesis, synthetic morphology
series ACADIA
type Normal Paper
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