inhabitable organism

Programming scenarios: R&Sie(n)...
In Issue 8 of Praxis, the work of Francois Roche and Stephanie Lavaux is unraveled via their redefining architectural programming at the micro and macro scales thus to insturmentalizing the material processing of place. Their understanding of program synthesizes ecology, biology, and built form as both critique and catalyst. They use an evolving definition for program in architecture.
What is programming:
Architecture- a design brief of space requirements or activities
computer science- a sequence of coded instructions input into a mechanism that enable it to perform in a specified manner

biology- a sequence of coded instructions (as genes or behavioral responses) embedded with in the organism itself- integral to the building's life processes in relation to its biotope

By substituting the words biotope and scenario for site and design, R&Sie(n)... mess with the materiologies of the hyper-local. They code the intelligent material, the "genius materiae", the material of place, they spark a process to produces unanticipated and constantly evolving effects.

"Their uncompromising views and creations are highly experimental. Such elements as metamorphosis, fluid ecology, clones, biorobotics and advanced medicine play an important part. Their 'architecture non standard' is not static, but lively and amorphous. Their visionary exhibition 'I've heard about (a flat, fat, growing urban experiment)' shows an urban planning Utopia comprising a self-engendered,
independently growing biostructure." _

The article pin points out their project : Dusty Relief, a museum of contemporary art in Bangkok. The proposal exploits its context, using the highly toxic urban atmosphere. The dust, soot, and smog are now an integral part of the Bangkok's biotope and as an indigenous material that's modified the city's climate. The proposal juxtaposes the geopolitical architectural ambitions of a museum with the highly local site chemical specificity of its toxic micro-ecology. It produces a duality of co-existence with the pristine white-walled galleries to the polluted atmosphere. (WASTE=FOOD according to McDonough, yet this takes it to a new level. Less chic band aide, more reaction.) This building works because it announces to society, "yes, we human beings did fuck up the environment, now we need to use what we have," instead of just using hay for insulation and slapping on solar panels on the west side in a smog filled city, it is accepting the environment and working from there, re-adapting.

How does this work? The building has an electrostatically charged mesh cladding designed ot attract the fine particles in the air. As time passes, the dust continues to accumulate with carbon monoxide particles precipitating on the amorphous ectrostatic shell, augmenting the evolving particle landscape. Unlike most "architecture", the building attracts versus repel, absorbing and "feeding" off of its environment.
R&Sie(n)... set up the system for change and evolution to occur, not prescribing a fundamental construction. They are playing off of an organic rule set, not fighting nature but incorporating it, exposing it, and enhancing it.

We are going this way.

1 comment:

zakary said...


My name is Zakary Zide and I am a Graduate student in environmental design at the California College of the Arts.

I am curious about the architecture of the in-between: What is the living continuum between habitat and shelter?

I appreciate Mr. Roche's attempts to explore the architecture of the in-between.

In regards to the former post, I would suggest that smog is not an indigenous element. Architectural exposing and integrating pollution is a great idea and challenges conventional notions of regionalism. Why not just build a house in the local dump? I think the real challenge of our time is to design space that moves us in a restorative way - regenerative for both its human inhabitants and the local ecological community.

I am curious:
How do people integrate living things (plants, animals, microbes, etc. (not dogs or cats)) into their lives? How do people experience ecological systems, functions, and processes on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?

Specifically, what do you bring inside your house and what do you leave outside? What do you tolerate, what do you invite, and what do you kill (ants, spiders, birds, etc.)? If you could integrate the local landscape / habitat and your house more, would you? How and in what ways? In what ways does the integration help you to feel more connected to where you live / work?

Your thoughts, ideas, contacts, and links are greatly appreciated!!