Biological growth has fascinated architects for centuries. But recent developments in our understanding of biological systems–and our ability to gather data from them, model them and directly manipulate them–have opened up startling possibilities to actively integrate biology and design. This unique architecture studio, co-taught by an architect and a developmental biologist, aimed to produce novel examples of how this approach may affect the buildings of the future.
The class began with an immersive study of morphogenesis, cell growth and cell differentiation. Students studied in the Brivanlou Lab at Rockefeller University. They learned how forms that do not exist in the natural world could be generated in the lab. They acquired new software techniques for capturing biological data, deriving equations of growth, creating 4D models and designing unprecedented structures at multiple scales.
Students then developed and tested hypotheses about how biological development might translate to new possibilities for architecture–from structures grown from a single cell, to buildings that dynamically evolve in response to surrounding buildings, to cities that exchange materials and energy in complex ecosystems, to architecture that self-replicates.
Ni Zhang A/B/C/D/E