111 results for “Dynamic-architecture”

Beyond Biomimicry: A New Urgency

William Myers
January 1st 2019

Designers face an unprecedented urgency to alter their methods and reprioritize their goals to address the accelerating degradation of the environment. This new pressure—intellectual, ethical, and regulatory—demands recognition of the fragility of nature and our responsibility to preserve it for future generations. Under such shifting and intensifying constraints, designers are beginning to go beyond emulation to harness processes observed in the living world, where systems achieve perfect economies of energy and materials.

Within this pursuit, working to achieve enhanced ecological …

#French [Green] DreamTowers

Alec Schellinx
June 18th 2018

FrenchDreamTowers is an eco-friendly high-rise complex imagined by Paris-based architect studio XTU, for the city of Hangzhou in Southern China.

Currently under study, the project is c around XTU’s ‘bio-facade’ technology; that is glass panels coated with a layer of micro-algae. The extra layer of algae will provide natural insulation and further absorbs carbon dioxide while producing oxygen in the process.

In turn, this will contribute to offsetting the environmental impact of the sculptural glass construction. Each tower will host …

Celebrating Dutch Water Protection:
Last Weeks to See ‘Gates of Light’

Kelly Streekstra
January 3rd 2018
If you are in The Netherlands you can explore the latest art project by Studio Roosegaarde and discover the iconic, yet historical value of the Closing Dike.

When Buildings Become Trees

Alec Schellinx
September 8th 2017
What if buildings could become trees? That vision is what Italian architect Stefano Boeri is aiming at with his Vertical Foresting.

Skyscraper Hanging from the Sky

Elle Zhan Wei
March 30th 2017
What if we rethink the system and instead of building from earth to sky, we do it the other way around?

Print Your House in a Day!

Julie Reindl
March 9th 2017
A Russian construction firm prints houses in 24 hours on site with their mobile 3D printer.

Architects, You Better Design Cars!

Alejandro Alvarez
January 18th 2017
Hyundai envisions a future where your smart home is your driverless car, and vice versa.

Future Architecture: Digesting Walls

Mathilde Nakken
November 10th 2016
The University of West England is developing living bricks, turning your walls into a digesting organism.

Welcome to the City Made of Bone

Monika Kozub
October 24th 2016
Our cities are made out of steel and concrete. What if we replace them with wood and bone?

This Robot Builds a House in Two Days

Ruben Baart
August 19th 2016
A Bricklaying Robot builds low-cost houses in just two days.
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Designers face an unprecedented urgency to alter their methods and reprioritize their goals to address the accelerating degradation of the environment. This new pressure—intellectual, ethical, and regulatory—demands recognition of the fragility of nature and our responsibility to preserve it for future generations. Under such shifting and intensifying constraints, designers are beginning to go beyond emulation to harness processes observed in the living world, where systems achieve perfect economies of energy and materials.

Within this pursuit, working to achieve enhanced ecological performance through integration with natural systems, designers are turning to biologists for their expertise and guidance. This contrasts markedly with the design approach that characterized the 20th century: the mechanization of functions in order to overpower, isolate, and control forces of nature, usually by utilizing advances in chemistry and physics. The examples explored here illustrate how this new approach—designing with biology—lends itself to collaborations with life scientists and foreshadows what kind of consilience, or cooperation across fields, we can expect in the future.

Design’s embrace of nature is the most promising way forward.

The integration of life into design is not a magic bullet to solve these pressing issues. Nor will it be free from harmful missteps, deliberate misuses, or controversy. Dystopian visions of the future awash in biodesign gone awry are credible possibilities, and they are included in this book. Beyond growing structures with trees or integrating objects with algae bioreactors, biodesign includes the use of synthetic biology and thereby invites the danger of disrupting natural ecosystems.

These technologies will be wielded by people—the same biased and frail creatures who designed the world into a desperate mess in the first place. But the potential benefits, and the need to reform current practices toward an approach more in tune with biological systems, far outweigh these risks. Ultimately, design’s embrace of nature—even coupled with the inevitable hubris that we can redesign and outdo it—is long overdue and the most promising way forward.

The focus of cross-disciplinary collaborations and their outcomes will, as always, depend on societal priorities and an array of market signals. Today there is a notable absence of the kind of regulation or system of incentives and disincentives that might lead to the eventual design and creation of environmentally remedial or zero-carbon objects and structures.

Researchers at Delft University of Technology have developed BioConcrete, which is embedded with limestone-making microorganisms that allow the material to repair itself.

The use of taxes and subsidies to spark such changes, for example, is still in its infancy. While Germany and Norway have made early and effective steps with policies that prioritize ecologically effective design, most of the industrialized world lags behind, especially the United States, where even the legitimacy of the federal agency to protect the environment is vulgarly challenged in political discourse.

Yet the costs of carbon emissions and climate change mount, and they will need to be addressed if a modern way of life, as we’ve come to know it, is to endure. Examples of biodesign profiled here anticipate this change: an accounting for, and eventual minimization of, what economists call negative externalities to the environment—the degradation of the air, soil, water, and life that does not figure into the end cost of manufacturing and building today. Only under new and sensibly designed constraints, such as a carbon tax on manufacturing, or incentives, such as a subsidy for structures that promote biodiversity, would projects such as ‘Fab Tree Hab’ or ‘BioConcrete’ become scalable.

In contrast with traditional architecture that is in combat with the environment, Fab Tree Hab is a housing concept that embraces and enhances the surrounding ecosystem. Living trees are integrated into the structures.

The imitation of nature in the design of objects and structures is an old phenomenon, recalling stylistic developments such as iron-enabled Art Nouveau in the 19th century through to the more recent titanium-clad fish shapes in the computer- aided designs of architect Frank Gehry. Yet this design approach is form driven and offers only a superficial likeness to the natural world for decorative, symbolic, or metaphorical effect. Design that sets out to deliberately achieve the qualities that actually generate these forms -adaptability, efficiency, and interdependence—is infinitely more complex, demanding the observational tools and experimental methods of the life sciences.

The effort to master this complexity is well under way; it’s been more than 30 years since scientists first altered a bacterium’s DNA so that it could serve as a tiny factory producing an inexpensive and reliable source of human insulin. [2] At the beginning of the 21st century, the DNA-modifying techniques to reproduce such a feat and reconfigure the activity of a cell have become widely accessible. We have even reached the milestone of synthesizing an entirely artificial DNA molecule that has successfully replicated and formed new cells. [3]

The affordability of the basic tools of biotechnology has put them within reach of engineers and designers who may now consider basic life forms as potential fabrication and form- giving mechanisms. Indeed, that is precisely the intention of architects such as David Benjamin, who is teaching and practicing how to wield life as a design tool and insists that ‘This is the century of biology.’ [4]

In the 19th century the combination of standardization of measurements, the Bessemer steel-making process, and the steam engine converged to enable the Industrial Revolution, answering the call of democratic, capitalistic nation-states seeking market growth. Facilitating this development was the increasing quality and plummeting price of steel, which rapidly fell from $170 per ton in 1867 to $14 per ton before the end of the century. [5]

Similarly, and following what has become known as Moore’s Law, the computing power of microchips has roughly doubled every two years since the 1990s. This phenomenon, amplified by the rise of the Internet and the worldwide adoption of standards like HTML, has supported a Digital Revolution. [6] Computer technology exponentially spread and intensified the practices and effects of the Industrial Revolution, and they addressed the demands of a rapidly globalizing economy.

A modular system of algae-filled tubes absorbs solar energy for electricity generation and shades interior spaces in Process Zero, a proposed retrofit for a General Services Administration building in Los Angeles.

These demands include pressure to compete in foreign markets, to coordinate increasingly complex supply chains, and to achieve continual economic expansion through productivity gains. In fulfilling these needs, digital technology lubricates the gears of civilization as we know it, supporting economic growth and relatively low unemployment and stable governments across most of the developed world.

In the first decade of the 21st century and beyond, the forces that prompted industrialization and digitization persist, but a new, more urgent, and arguably longer-term need has arisen that calls for a new revolution—the requirement for ecologically sound practices in design that guide scarce resource management, particularly in manufacturing and building. Abundant evidence makes plain that the pace of world economic development in its current form, relying on the rapid consumption of natural resources (including fossil fuels), cannot be maintained. [7] The scale and scope of human activity and projected changes in climate, economic demand, urbanization, and access to resources over the next several decades will necessitate new standards of energy efficiency, waste elimination, and biodiversity protection.

Models that meet such rigorous demands have been found only in nature, the emulation of which is now moving beyond stylistic choice to survival necessity. Driven by research in the life sciences, the mechanisms of natural systems—from swamps to unicellular yeasts—are quickly being decoded, analyzed, and understood. The architectural program of many of these systems is DNA, the sequencing and synthesis of which are quickly becoming financially viable, following what has become known as the Carlson Curve: the costs of sequencing and synthesizing base pairs of DNA have fallen dramatically over the last 10 years, just as steel and computing power became inexpensive commodities in previous centuries. [8]

Biodesign is an opportunity that designers will not miss and that is already attracting tinkerers of all stripes.

The possibilities arising from this new accessibility of the basic ingredient of living systems will surely multiply, particularly given the pace of capital investment and the proliferation of entrepreneurial ventures poised to exploit its potential. Although these technologies are still new and require much more research before they can easily be applied to complex organisms, the pace of investment and growth is significant: more than 2 percent of United States GDP is now attributable to products that rely on genetic modification. [9] As the expertise to manipulate and wield the machinery of life spreads, it will impact numerous fields and lead to several collaborations; biodesign, as I have defined it, is an opportunity that designers will not miss and that is already attracting tinkerers of all stripes.

As it often does, art illuminated the path forward. Bioart of the last decade, including works by Eduardo Kac, such as the living, glowing ‘GFP Bunny’ in 2000 and the numerous projects that have emerged from SymbioticA, foreshadowed the now burgeoning do-it-yourself biology (DIY bio) movement. Facilitated by the availability of inexpensive equipment and emboldened by like-minded enthusiasts through instant communication over the web, amateur biologists are now creating transgenic organisms and even inventing novel equipment on their own. These new creators, some of them with design experience, also follow in the footsteps of tech entrepreneurs working out of garages in California in the 1970s and 1980s, and they bring an ethos of independence that is unlinked from the agendas or conventions of universities and corporations.

This story is republished from William Myers' book Biodesign (2018).

Notes

  1. Salvador Dalí, The Unspeakable Confessions of Salvador Dalí (New York: HarperCollins, 1981) p. 230.
  2. Using recombinant DNA to alter Escherichia coli bacteria to create human insulin, the first synthetic insulin was produced and distributed by Genetech in 1978.
  3. J. Craig Venter et al., ‘Creation of a bacterial cell controlled by a chemically synthesized genome’ Science, July 2, 2010: 329 (5987), 52–56.
  4. David Benjamin, ‘Bio fever’ Domus, published online on March 30, 2011 (http://www. domusweb.it/en/op-ed/bio-fever/).
  5. Andrew Carnegie, The Empire of Business (New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1902) (see especially ‘Steel Manufacture in the United States in the Nineteenth Century’ pp. 229–242).
  6. As measured by the number of transistors fitting onto an integrated circuit.
  7. Corinne Le Quere, Michael R. Raupach, Josep G. Canadell, and Gregg Marland ‘Trends in the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide’ Nature Geoscience, November 17, 2009: 2(12) 831–836.
  8. Rob Carlson, Biology Is Technology: The Promise, Peril, and New Business of Engineering Life (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010) pp. 63–79.
  9. This measure includes pharmaceuticals, industrial applications and genetically modified crops; ibid pp. 150–178.

[post_title] => Beyond Biomimicry: A New Urgency [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => beyond-biomimicry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-04-16 13:36:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-16 12:36:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=107424 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 82029 [post_author] => 1419 [post_date] => 2018-06-18 08:27:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-18 07:27:13 [post_content] => FrenchDreamTowers is an eco-friendly high-rise complex imagined by Paris-based architect studio XTU, for the city of Hangzhou in Southern China.Currently under study, the project is c around XTU’s ‘bio-facade’ technology; that is glass panels coated with a layer of micro-algae. The extra layer of algae will provide natural insulation and further absorbs carbon dioxide while producing oxygen in the process.In turn, this will contribute to offsetting the environmental impact of the sculptural glass construction. Each tower will host its own ‘French-inspired’ zone. A Tech-Hub with offices and co-working spaces for start-ups; an Art Centre with galleries and artist residences; a hospitality tower with a hotel, spa, healthcare centre and all; and finally an ‘Haute Gastronomie’ precinct with luxury restaurants serving French cuisine and a panoramic bar.The architects even posit that the algae could be collected from the glass facade for use in the production of various goods such as medicines and beauty products. Other sustainable strategies include greenhouses and hanging gardens on the top floor of the highest glass towers, that will function as an air filtering system, but also provide the buildings’ occupants leafy and shaded areas to rest under.Rainwater will further be harvested, sliding down the sides of the towers and stored into basins below. In a word, XTU’s FrenchDreamTowers are green in every possible way. [post_title] => #French [Green] DreamTowers [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => french-dream-towers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-04-16 10:14:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-16 09:14:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=82029 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 79507 [post_author] => 1510 [post_date] => 2018-01-03 10:00:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-03 09:00:35 [post_content] => The Afsluitdijk, a 32.5 km long protective dike that shorthened the coastline of The Netherlands drastically, is an eloquent example of manufactured landscape. It helped men to turn a sea into a lake, safer shorelines and a new province. When you’re around the coming weeks, you can explore the latest art project of NNN ambassador Daan Roosegaarde and discover the iconic, yet historical value of the Closing Dike. And yes, it’s worth a drive.The closing dike was constructed in 1932 to decrease the flood risk of coastline of the surprisingly low-lying Netherlands. What used to be the salty Zuiderzee, is now the freshwater IJssellake behind the dike, as well as a man-made province of reclaimed land: Flevoland. This province is about five meters below sea level. After 85 years of intensive use of the dike as protection and as a central road, the dike is undergoing intensive renovations to sustain under the projected heightening of the water levels of the IJssel lake and the Wadden Sea.The Closing Dike is not only a symbol of the long Dutch history of water protection, it may also be viewed as an iconic center of innovation, recreation and creativity. For instance, the dike is inspiring the implementation of blue energy: a method for generating energy from the chemical difference between the salt and fresh water. Moreover, it is home to recreational venues for the public, a visitor center and a new Wadden Center, to be opened in 2018, telling the story of the Wadden Sea and the Dutch Delta Design.Studio Roosegaarde highlights the iconic Closing Dike with some art installations. Drive through the Gates of Light, see the green wind-energy generating kites in the Windvogel installation, and pop out of the car to experience the Glowing Nature installation in a historical bunker with live bioluminescent algae. The exhibit can be seen until the 21th of January. [post_title] => Celebrating Dutch Water Protection:
Last Weeks to See 'Gates of Light' [post_excerpt] => If you are in The Netherlands you can explore the latest art project by Studio Roosegaarde and discover the iconic, yet historical value of the Closing Dike. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => latest-project-studio-roosegaarde [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-01-04 10:35:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-01-04 09:35:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=79507/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 77176 [post_author] => 1419 [post_date] => 2017-09-08 10:39:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-08 08:39:53 [post_content] => What if buildings could become trees? That vision is what Italian architect Stefano Boeri is aiming at with his Vertical Foresting. Boeri’s high-rises do not just stand there like trees; in fact, they are “trees”. They emulate how trees function or, to be more exact, how they “breathe”.A vertical forest like the one that is currently under construction in south-eastern China, Nanjing will be covered by 1.100 trees selected from 23 Chinese species, in addition to 2.500 cascading shrubs and plants. The forest building will breathe out a daily 132 pounds of oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide in the process. About 25 tons of carbon dioxide can be ingested annually by the green skyscraper, which is approximately the amount of emissions that would be produced by a 87.300 km car ride, the equivalent of driving twice around the Earth.[caption id="attachment_77178" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Meet the Forest Mountain Hotel, a 250-room hotel that cleans the air while you are asleep.[/caption]A vertical “forest mountain” will be built in Guizhou, south China, to host a 250-room hotel: a babylonian dream, made in China. But that’s not all. A “forest city” is also reported to be on its way in the northern province of Hebei. “It’s a different approach, but the same philosophy”  Boeri said.Creating an urban forest doesn't simply imply connecting a new structure to an existent cityscape. Urban planning starts from the very beginning. Parks, gardens and green corridors are an integral part of the urban setting and every single building should be designed to host its own set of trees. The city becomes a forest and vice versa.Story: Sixth Tone. Image: Stefano Boeri Architetti [post_title] => When Buildings Become Trees [post_excerpt] => What if buildings could become trees? That vision is what Italian architect Stefano Boeri is aiming at with his Vertical Foresting. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => buildings-become-trees [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-30 13:15:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-30 11:15:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=77176/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 72727 [post_author] => 1324 [post_date] => 2017-03-30 21:02:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-30 20:02:47 [post_content] => We like tall buildings. Huge concrete monsters extends themselves high up in the sky. What if we rethink the system and instead of building from earth into sky, we do it the other way around? New York based architecture based Clouds put forward this innovative proposal: suspending the world's tallest skyscraper from an asteroid, leaving its inhabitants to parachute to earth.They called this space skyscraper Analemma. According to Clouds, the geosynchronous orbit would match the earth’s rotation period, ensuring that Analemma would return to the same location at the same time everyday, even though the tower will be continuously in motion.As the design firm explains: "While researching atmospheric conditions for this project, we realized that there is probably a tangible height limit beyond which people would not tolerate living due to the extreme conditions. For example, while there may be a benefit to having 45 extra minutes of daylight at an elevation of 32,000 meters, the near vacuum and -40C temperature would prevent people from going outside without a protective suit". Maybe it's not that suitable for living. But one can also argue that for people who wish to explore space, to be able to see the galaxy and sunrise from that perspective everyday, it could be worth. Given that one doesn’t mind to wear a space uniform each time he wants to walk out of the apartment. Plus up there, you get 42 minutes extra sunlight everyday.The building would be harvesting solar power directly from space, getting a constant feed of sunlight. It would be equipped with a circular water recycling system, so it would not need external source other than natural rain and clouds. The project envisions cable-less electromagnetic onboard elevators, to avoid height limitations. Clouds Architecture is looking at Dubai, where the most advanced technology in skyscraper construction lies. Finally, we will call it skyscraper, a literal descriptive name well deserved.Source: Clouds Architecture [post_title] => Skyscraper Hanging from the Sky [post_excerpt] => What if we rethink the system and instead of building from earth to sky, we do it the other way around? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => skyscraper-build-sky [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-04 13:52:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-04 12:52:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=72727/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 72042 [post_author] => 1317 [post_date] => 2017-03-09 09:56:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-09 08:56:03 [post_content] => Tomorrow you could already move into your very own $10,134 home! Weather its gonna look like a spaceship, a castle or a huge piece of cake its up to you. Sounds like a dream right? Russian 3D printing company Apis Cor recently built the first 3D printed house on site with their mobile 3D printer.By printing the main parts of the house in a concrete mixture, the building is supposed to last 175 years. The first prototype was finished in 24 hours and it includes a hallway, a living room and a kitchen. The windows are put in the frame independently.The company's vision is to provide eco friendly, efficient and fast solutions in order to face problems in housing around the globe. As this wouldn’t be one big task already, Apis also wants to take on the outer space. On their site they state "When there won’t be enough space on Earth for humanity to live, we are ready to be first to start building on Mars".3D printing technology is becoming more accessible, more affordable and more useful every day. From factory tooling to movie props, 3D has countless applications. And now, you can even print your own house![youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z-iebHRxJk[/youtube]Source: Mashable. Image: Apis Cor [post_title] => Print Your House in a Day! [post_excerpt] => A Russian construction firm prints houses in 24 hours on site with their mobile 3D printer. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => print-house-day [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-11 10:45:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-11 09:45:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=72042/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 70487 [post_author] => 874 [post_date] => 2017-01-18 15:15:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-01-18 14:15:21 [post_content] => Throughout the history of transports there have been moments that redefined the paradigm of the car. It can be the way of going from point A to point B, a machine to break velocity records and impress the audience, or your own business. The automobile has also shaped our cities and our culture, it made our streets wider, turned fields and forests into parking lots and made the air unbreathable. A new vision by Hyundai is set to redefine the paradigm of what a car is, and with it the shape of our houses and furniture may change radically. The funny thing is that it seems quite obvious, why didn’t we think of this sooner?In the design academy, there’s a sharp distinction between architects and designers: the ones who like interior design and those who prefer automobile design. This differentiation may disappear, as Hyundai’s mobility vision is a concept car/house/seat that merges transport and architecture. The basic idea behind it is that your car is not just a vehicle, it has air conditioning, a battery, an entertainment system, comfortable and adjustable seats; why keep all this features just standing there unused in a dusty garage?The car manufacturer thinks that merging your car with your house will provide you an emergency energy source in case of a blackout, a hygge space for visitors, comfortable chairs to watch movies and a sound and entertainment system for house parties.You can see the concept in the video below, it may seem far-fetched but clearly there are ideas that have the potential to change for the better the way we live and consume.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AR7zw4H-e4U[/youtube]Source: Hyundai [post_title] => Architects, You Better Design Cars! [post_excerpt] => Hyundai envisions a future where your smart home is your driverless car, and vice versa. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => architects-better-start-drawing-cars [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-20 11:29:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-20 10:29:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=70487/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 68092 [post_author] => 936 [post_date] => 2016-11-10 11:36:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-10 09:36:35 [post_content] => A bio reactor inside a wall in your house may sound a bit scary. Some researcher, however, thought this could be a great idea and started the LIAR (Living Architecture) project. They are working at the University of West England to design and develop a modular bioreactor-wall with living bricks, turning a wall into a digesting organism.Each brick will contain a fuel reactor filled with algae and microbial cels. These microbial fuel cels respond to the environment they are in, choosing to create energy, clean the air or even reclaim new chemicals, like phosphate. With this invention, for instance, the waste water of your home or office could go into the wall and coming out clear and drinkable. Or what happens to power sockets when your whole wall is generating energy?Rachel Armstrong, Professor of Experimental Architecture at Newcastle University and co-ordinator of the living brick project, says: “The best way to describe what we’re trying to create is a 'biomechanical cow's stomach’. It contains different chambers, each processing organic waste for a different, but overall related, purpose – like a digestive system for your home or your office".Are you curious to know more about living architecture? Rachel Armstrong is one of our ambassadors, in this interview she explained us more about her research in living architecture.Source: New Castle University, Inhabitat. Image: Inhabitat [post_title] => Future Architecture: Digesting Walls [post_excerpt] => The University of West England is developing living bricks, turning your walls into a digesting organism. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => future-architecture-digesting-walls [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-10 12:00:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-10 10:00:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=68092 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 67727 [post_author] => 875 [post_date] => 2016-10-24 17:59:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-24 15:59:55 [post_content] => Imagine a typical city. Probably the image you have in your mind involves skyscrapers made out of steel and concrete, grey roads beneath them and some traffic. Now try to replace the materials with bone, how would it look like? Would you like to live in a city like this?This question is the main point of Michelle L. Oyen's research within Bioingineering Department at Cambridge University. She works on a small scale samples of artificial bone and eggshells to test their possible utilization in construction industry. Both bone and eggshell are composites of proteins and minerals: first gives them resistance to fracture, second hardness. When making artificial ones, Michelle Oyen combines minerals with collagen - the most abundant protein in the animal world. Right now, how to find a synthetic substitute is one of the most urgent problems.The other one is to spread awareness about the need to find alternatives for steel-concrete constructions. They are responsible for as much as a tenth of worldwide carbon emissions, which is even more than air travel contributes. "What we’re trying to do is to rethink the way that we make things,says Oyen.Engineers tend to throw energy at problems, whereas nature throws information at problems – they fundamentally do things differently".Other natural material that may serve as an alternative to steel and concrete is wood, much lighter and renewable. Michael Ramage from the Department of Architecture at Cambridge University looks for ways to build tall buildings out of it. It can speed up construction process and have a positive impact on city life too: "What needs to be delivered in five trucks for a concrete building can be delivered in one truck for a timber building. That’s an incredible advantage, for cost, for environment, for traffic and for cyclists".Source: Cambridge University Research. Image: eVolo[post_title] => Welcome to the City Made of Bone [post_excerpt] => Our cities are made out of steel and concrete. What if we replace them with wood and bone? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => welcome-city-made-bone-wood-skyscraper [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-27 10:45:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-27 08:45:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=67727 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 65371 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2016-08-19 12:24:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-19 10:24:26 [post_content] => This Bricklaying Robot can build low-cost houses in just two days. Initially developed to meet labor shortages, at 1.000 bricks an hour the robot is perfectly capable of working on its own. The machine was named Hadrian after the fourteenth Emperor of Rome, known for his significant building projects during the Roman Empire. This new technology means more affordable houses in the future, that additionally could be filled with robotic self-assembling furniture.Source: Fastbrick Robotics [post_title] => This Robot Builds a House in Two Days [post_excerpt] => A Bricklaying Robot builds low-cost houses in just two days. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => robot-builds-house-two-days [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-08-18 12:24:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-08-18 10:24:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=65371 [menu_order] => 115 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 ))[post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 107424 [post_author] => 1943 [post_date] => 2019-01-01 11:13:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-01 10:13:35 [post_content] =>

Designers face an unprecedented urgency to alter their methods and reprioritize their goals to address the accelerating degradation of the environment. This new pressure—intellectual, ethical, and regulatory—demands recognition of the fragility of nature and our responsibility to preserve it for future generations. Under such shifting and intensifying constraints, designers are beginning to go beyond emulation to harness processes observed in the living world, where systems achieve perfect economies of energy and materials.

Within this pursuit, working to achieve enhanced ecological performance through integration with natural systems, designers are turning to biologists for their expertise and guidance. This contrasts markedly with the design approach that characterized the 20th century: the mechanization of functions in order to overpower, isolate, and control forces of nature, usually by utilizing advances in chemistry and physics. The examples explored here illustrate how this new approach—designing with biology—lends itself to collaborations with life scientists and foreshadows what kind of consilience, or cooperation across fields, we can expect in the future.

Design’s embrace of nature is the most promising way forward.

The integration of life into design is not a magic bullet to solve these pressing issues. Nor will it be free from harmful missteps, deliberate misuses, or controversy. Dystopian visions of the future awash in biodesign gone awry are credible possibilities, and they are included in this book. Beyond growing structures with trees or integrating objects with algae bioreactors, biodesign includes the use of synthetic biology and thereby invites the danger of disrupting natural ecosystems.

These technologies will be wielded by people—the same biased and frail creatures who designed the world into a desperate mess in the first place. But the potential benefits, and the need to reform current practices toward an approach more in tune with biological systems, far outweigh these risks. Ultimately, design’s embrace of nature—even coupled with the inevitable hubris that we can redesign and outdo it—is long overdue and the most promising way forward.

The focus of cross-disciplinary collaborations and their outcomes will, as always, depend on societal priorities and an array of market signals. Today there is a notable absence of the kind of regulation or system of incentives and disincentives that might lead to the eventual design and creation of environmentally remedial or zero-carbon objects and structures.

Researchers at Delft University of Technology have developed BioConcrete, which is embedded with limestone-making microorganisms that allow the material to repair itself.

The use of taxes and subsidies to spark such changes, for example, is still in its infancy. While Germany and Norway have made early and effective steps with policies that prioritize ecologically effective design, most of the industrialized world lags behind, especially the United States, where even the legitimacy of the federal agency to protect the environment is vulgarly challenged in political discourse.

Yet the costs of carbon emissions and climate change mount, and they will need to be addressed if a modern way of life, as we’ve come to know it, is to endure. Examples of biodesign profiled here anticipate this change: an accounting for, and eventual minimization of, what economists call negative externalities to the environment—the degradation of the air, soil, water, and life that does not figure into the end cost of manufacturing and building today. Only under new and sensibly designed constraints, such as a carbon tax on manufacturing, or incentives, such as a subsidy for structures that promote biodiversity, would projects such as ‘Fab Tree Hab’ or ‘BioConcrete’ become scalable.

In contrast with traditional architecture that is in combat with the environment, Fab Tree Hab is a housing concept that embraces and enhances the surrounding ecosystem. Living trees are integrated into the structures.

The imitation of nature in the design of objects and structures is an old phenomenon, recalling stylistic developments such as iron-enabled Art Nouveau in the 19th century through to the more recent titanium-clad fish shapes in the computer- aided designs of architect Frank Gehry. Yet this design approach is form driven and offers only a superficial likeness to the natural world for decorative, symbolic, or metaphorical effect. Design that sets out to deliberately achieve the qualities that actually generate these forms -adaptability, efficiency, and interdependence—is infinitely more complex, demanding the observational tools and experimental methods of the life sciences.

The effort to master this complexity is well under way; it’s been more than 30 years since scientists first altered a bacterium’s DNA so that it could serve as a tiny factory producing an inexpensive and reliable source of human insulin. [2] At the beginning of the 21st century, the DNA-modifying techniques to reproduce such a feat and reconfigure the activity of a cell have become widely accessible. We have even reached the milestone of synthesizing an entirely artificial DNA molecule that has successfully replicated and formed new cells. [3]

The affordability of the basic tools of biotechnology has put them within reach of engineers and designers who may now consider basic life forms as potential fabrication and form- giving mechanisms. Indeed, that is precisely the intention of architects such as David Benjamin, who is teaching and practicing how to wield life as a design tool and insists that ‘This is the century of biology.’ [4]

In the 19th century the combination of standardization of measurements, the Bessemer steel-making process, and the steam engine converged to enable the Industrial Revolution, answering the call of democratic, capitalistic nation-states seeking market growth. Facilitating this development was the increasing quality and plummeting price of steel, which rapidly fell from $170 per ton in 1867 to $14 per ton before the end of the century. [5]

Similarly, and following what has become known as Moore’s Law, the computing power of microchips has roughly doubled every two years since the 1990s. This phenomenon, amplified by the rise of the Internet and the worldwide adoption of standards like HTML, has supported a Digital Revolution. [6] Computer technology exponentially spread and intensified the practices and effects of the Industrial Revolution, and they addressed the demands of a rapidly globalizing economy.

A modular system of algae-filled tubes absorbs solar energy for electricity generation and shades interior spaces in Process Zero, a proposed retrofit for a General Services Administration building in Los Angeles.

These demands include pressure to compete in foreign markets, to coordinate increasingly complex supply chains, and to achieve continual economic expansion through productivity gains. In fulfilling these needs, digital technology lubricates the gears of civilization as we know it, supporting economic growth and relatively low unemployment and stable governments across most of the developed world.

In the first decade of the 21st century and beyond, the forces that prompted industrialization and digitization persist, but a new, more urgent, and arguably longer-term need has arisen that calls for a new revolution—the requirement for ecologically sound practices in design that guide scarce resource management, particularly in manufacturing and building. Abundant evidence makes plain that the pace of world economic development in its current form, relying on the rapid consumption of natural resources (including fossil fuels), cannot be maintained. [7] The scale and scope of human activity and projected changes in climate, economic demand, urbanization, and access to resources over the next several decades will necessitate new standards of energy efficiency, waste elimination, and biodiversity protection.

Models that meet such rigorous demands have been found only in nature, the emulation of which is now moving beyond stylistic choice to survival necessity. Driven by research in the life sciences, the mechanisms of natural systems—from swamps to unicellular yeasts—are quickly being decoded, analyzed, and understood. The architectural program of many of these systems is DNA, the sequencing and synthesis of which are quickly becoming financially viable, following what has become known as the Carlson Curve: the costs of sequencing and synthesizing base pairs of DNA have fallen dramatically over the last 10 years, just as steel and computing power became inexpensive commodities in previous centuries. [8]

Biodesign is an opportunity that designers will not miss and that is already attracting tinkerers of all stripes.

The possibilities arising from this new accessibility of the basic ingredient of living systems will surely multiply, particularly given the pace of capital investment and the proliferation of entrepreneurial ventures poised to exploit its potential. Although these technologies are still new and require much more research before they can easily be applied to complex organisms, the pace of investment and growth is significant: more than 2 percent of United States GDP is now attributable to products that rely on genetic modification. [9] As the expertise to manipulate and wield the machinery of life spreads, it will impact numerous fields and lead to several collaborations; biodesign, as I have defined it, is an opportunity that designers will not miss and that is already attracting tinkerers of all stripes.

As it often does, art illuminated the path forward. Bioart of the last decade, including works by Eduardo Kac, such as the living, glowing ‘GFP Bunny’ in 2000 and the numerous projects that have emerged from SymbioticA, foreshadowed the now burgeoning do-it-yourself biology (DIY bio) movement. Facilitated by the availability of inexpensive equipment and emboldened by like-minded enthusiasts through instant communication over the web, amateur biologists are now creating transgenic organisms and even inventing novel equipment on their own. These new creators, some of them with design experience, also follow in the footsteps of tech entrepreneurs working out of garages in California in the 1970s and 1980s, and they bring an ethos of independence that is unlinked from the agendas or conventions of universities and corporations.

This story is republished from William Myers' book Biodesign (2018).

Notes

  1. Salvador Dalí, The Unspeakable Confessions of Salvador Dalí (New York: HarperCollins, 1981) p. 230.
  2. Using recombinant DNA to alter Escherichia coli bacteria to create human insulin, the first synthetic insulin was produced and distributed by Genetech in 1978.
  3. J. Craig Venter et al., ‘Creation of a bacterial cell controlled by a chemically synthesized genome’ Science, July 2, 2010: 329 (5987), 52–56.
  4. David Benjamin, ‘Bio fever’ Domus, published online on March 30, 2011 (http://www. domusweb.it/en/op-ed/bio-fever/).
  5. Andrew Carnegie, The Empire of Business (New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1902) (see especially ‘Steel Manufacture in the United States in the Nineteenth Century’ pp. 229–242).
  6. As measured by the number of transistors fitting onto an integrated circuit.
  7. Corinne Le Quere, Michael R. Raupach, Josep G. Canadell, and Gregg Marland ‘Trends in the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide’ Nature Geoscience, November 17, 2009: 2(12) 831–836.
  8. Rob Carlson, Biology Is Technology: The Promise, Peril, and New Business of Engineering Life (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010) pp. 63–79.
  9. This measure includes pharmaceuticals, industrial applications and genetically modified crops; ibid pp. 150–178.

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