This cell-shaped building for the institute for Nanobiomedical Technology & Membrane Biology in Chengdu, China, is an unusual croos-disciplinary collaboration between MIT bioengineer Shuguang Zhang, architecture major Sloan Kulper and software engineer Audrey Roy.
The $12m facility will house 170.000 sq ft of laboratory and research spaces.
"Nature has built this kind of thing for billions of years, and finally humans caught on," said Dr. Zhang, who is founding adviser to the Institute for Nanobiomedical Technology and Membrane Biology in Chengdu.
To many who do not share his enthusiasm and find it far to literal for architecture. But to Dr. Zhang, standard buildings, with their straight lines and conventional boxy shapes, are "boring," and the more imaginative works like those of Antoni Gaudi and Frank Gehry resonate. "People will turn their head regardless," he said, whether "they like it or hate it," and children will be inspired to learn biology.
He said he doubted that people would actually hate the building. "It's biology," he said. "How many people hate trees? How many people hate seashells and mushrooms?
"When the Eiffel Tower was built," Dr. Zhang added, "most of the people in Paris hated it. Now it has become a symbol of Paris."