17
November
2014

Arquitetura Viva

Biosfera Workshop at the Federal Institute of Sao Paulo

The workshop for architecture and urban design students focuses on Arquitetura Viva – AV - a system developed by Biosfera on both the theoretical and technological realms pertaining to innovations in design, theory, practice and technology for architects and urbanists alike.

AV is based on analogies between more holistic approaches in biology, such as in the ‘Symbiotic Planet’ by Lynn Margulis.

Notions of symbiosis, rather than adaptation and competition, being the driving force behind the evolution of organisms are used as an analogy in several outlooks on viable approaches for a new architecture and organization of volume and space in our built environment. However, analogies only offer little concrete venture points by which such theories can be made manifest in the technological and technocratic processes prevailing in the day-to-day unfolding of our ever-increasing, engineered environments: sheer metaphors seldom overrule the demands of economic viability, the business as usual inherent to the linear and mechanistic processes of our monetary economy.

Through developments such as parametric design, digital production, approaches of urban and industrial metabolism, metaphors, to date deployed within the realm of architectural thought and theory, can finally become tangible reality.

Parametric design evolves into symbiogenetic design, using the actual algorithms used by natural organisms to self-construct, to enter into complex, ever-changing symbiotic conglomerates that self-organize along cooperative patterns, optimizing the efficiency of the production, consumption and distribution of the resources that make life tick: Arquitetura Viva.

Combined with the ever-increasing reach and scope of digital production, one-by-one barriers and limitations in the engineering of materials architectural volumes and their integration into spatial and temporal contexts are leveled.

All these developments call for new outlooks on the architectural and urbanist praxis: truly sustainable whole-systems design methods are now within reach: not biomimicry, but rather real-world synchronization with the underpinning dynamics and mechanisms of biosferic organization.

Sounds abstract and futuristic?

The Arquitetura Viva workshop introduces students hands-on to the doability of these new practices, challenging patterned opinions that need to be overcome are we to transform the artificial compartmentalization of the natural and built environments: the root cause of unsustainable human activity.

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