Ted Talks: Architecture that repairs itself?


Rachel Armstrong: Architecture that repairs itself?

Venice, Italy is sinking. To save it, Rachel Armstrong says we need to outgrow architecture made of inert materials and, well, make architecture that grows itself. She proposes a not-quite-alive material that does its own repairs and sequesters carbon, too.

Rachel Armstrong is a medical doctor, multi-media producer, science fiction author and arts collaborator. Her current research explores architectural design and mythologies about new technology. She is working with scientists and architects to explore cutting-edge, sustainable technologies.

Armstrong’s hope is that, in the future, cities will be able to replace the energy they draw from the environment, respond to the needs of their populations and eventually become regarded as “alive” — in the same way we think about parks or gardens. Since “metabolic materials” are made from terrestrial chemistry, they would not be exclusive to the developed world, and would have the potential to transform urban environments worldwide.

Basically, this woman is working to put us all out of work…

.:video via->TED

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Posted: November 1st, 2009
at 10:46am by orangemenace

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Categories: architecture,green arch,tech,videos

Comments: 2 comments


2 Responses to 'Ted Talks: Architecture that repairs itself?'

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  1. It all seems pretty wishy-washy to me. She didn’t say anything about how to control where deposits are made, etc. If all you want is microorganisms leaving behind mineral deposits, we already have that. A simple light gradient isn’t going to do the job to get these (in comparison to true life) very simple chemical arrangements to deposit minerals where we want them. Notice also that she said nothing about the rate at which they do so. Limestone develops over millennia. This research is likely decades away from producing any real world results. I’m guessing Venice will be saved by conventional engineering solutions, or not at all.


    2 Nov 09 at 11:28 am


  2. A pretty wild idea. Although something about introducing man-made protocell-based organisms into an ecosystem and having it work perfectly with the existing creatures makes me cringe. I think it must be the idea that we can foresee all outcomes in biological systems. Far from the truth.

    Protocells are very cool. Even today they make medicines on large scales that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, and someday they could make liquid fuels from sunlight and toxic waste dumps (or something).

    You could also support your building with living trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide too. No new technology needed.


    3 Nov 09 at 2:52 pm



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