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…
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I have to admit – recent and ongoing developments in ‘augmented reality’ user interfaces have me kind of geeked. Integrating technology into our lives in increasingly seamless ways is both exciting to me in a ‘the future is now’ kind of way – and for the possibility of un-tethering ourselves, while remaining somehow connected to the ‘net [or whatever] in a more ‘real’, integrated [and maybe less anti-social] way. Not that any of this has to do with this iPhone app giving you directions in the subway…
From the developers:
When you load the app, holding it flat, all lines of the New York subway are displayed in coloured arrows. By tilting the phone upwards, you will see the nearest stations: what direction they are in relation to your location, how many miles away they are and what lines they are on. If you continue to tilt the phone upwards, you will see stations further away, as stacked icons. Only available to Apple iPhone 3GS users.
But yeah – looks pretty dope. I’m really interested to see how architecture and design respond to these kind of developments – and what they will mean for public space, in particular.
Now, a sensible ninja would wonder: how could something called “Hyphae Design Lab” not be associated with myninjaplease? The answer, of course, is that it would be impossible. That said, I can’t believe we didn’t get a shout-out…
Moving along – our ninja Brent started the Hyphae Design Lab, and is designing innovative greywater systems out in the Bay-area. Long story short, we are incredibly water-innefficient [in the US, and globally], and in order to move towards a green / sustainable future we need to seriously overhaul the way we think of water and waste systems, particularly those in our homes. Brent has some ideas how we can do that, and discusses his vision / concepts in this video feature for DWELL.
Jane Poynter tells her story of living two years and 20 minutes in Biosphere 2 — an experience that provoked her to explore how we might sustain life in the harshest of environments.