When the ‘built’ becomes the ‘born’
Humans create some pretty clever designs, but until now, our constructed environment has largely been static. It’s time to take a hint from old nature and teach our buildings and products how to grow, adapt, and repair themselves.
Using the principle of guided growth, fruits manufacture their own packaging, and chairs are designed to mimic bones. Even our buildings may eventually have the same urge to eat and breath as the residents inside.
Learning to build Superman's House
Superman already knew it: Steered growth is the future of architecture.
The lower picture was taken at the Industrias Peñoles nano-chrystal architecture lab in Chihuahuan, Mexico where researchers are growing giant crystals. No seriously, the Cave …
Growing rooms, buildings & cities
With their project ‘Rules of Six’ architects Aranda & Lasch envision an unpredictable, self-generating landscape of interlocking hexagons that could represent rooms, buildings or entire urban neighborhoods. The work explores self-assembly and modularity across scales. …
Living Root Bridges
In the depths of northeastern India, one of the wettest places on earth, bridges aren’t built – they’re grown. What could 21th century architects learn from these dynamic construction principles? I would like to see …
Hydrogel heals injured Brain & Bone-tissue
A new nano-particle-infused hydrogel, developed by scientists from Clemson University, should be able to heal scrambled brains and broken bones. The gel creates new blood vessels and in a later stage encourages the body to …
Worldwide shipping of manufactured things is very inefficient. How can we ship devices and utensils in a single envelope? As seeds.
All buildings today have something in common: They are made using Victorian technologies. This involves blueprints, industrial manufacturing and construction using teams of workers. All this effort results in an inert object, which means there is a one–way transfer of energy from our environment into our homes and cities. This is not sustainable. I believe that the only possible way for us to construct genuinely sustainable homes and cities is by placing them in a constant conversation with their surroundings. In order to do this, we need to find the right language.
— Rachel Armstrong, Self-Repairing Architecture
Japanese artist Tokujin Yoshioka does not sculpt his work, but grows it. His Venus chair was created by immersing a plastic mesh substrate into a tank filled with a chemical solution. Gradually crystals precipitate onto the substrate and give structure to the chair. It might not be the most comfortable place to take a seat, but it’s a great example of guided growth. Yoshioka has experimented with various other crystalline structures ranging from Greek sculptures to entire rooms. Maybe a scale replica of the Fortress of Solitude isn’t too far off.
Another step in the fusion of the made & the born: Surgeons in Sweden have successfully transplanted a fully synthetic, tissue-engineered organ – a trachea– into a man with late-stage tracheal cancer.
The synthetic trachea was grown in a bioreactor, using a scaffold built out of a porous polymer, and tissue grown from the patient’s own stem cells. The surgery was performed last month by Paolo Macchiarini at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, Stockholm. The patient has now made a full recovery and has been discharged from the hospital.
The transplant of the lab grown organ is a significant moment for regenerative medicine, although a trachea is much simpler than a lung, kidney or a heart, which are still far more challenging for the scientists.
Lab grown organs are expected to be superior to ordinary donor organs in several ways. They can be made to order more quickly than a donor organ can often be found; being grown from a patient’s own cells, they also do not require dangerous immunosuppressant drugs to prevent rejection.
The Made and the Born: Neo-Biological civillization, written by Kevin Kelly, excerpt from Out of Control : The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World, Kevin Kelly (1995) Perseus Books Group, ISBN-13: 978-0201483406.
I am sealed in a cottage of glass that is completely airtight. Inside I breathe my exhalations. Yet the air is fresh, blown by fans. My urine and excrement are recycled by a system of ducts, pipes, wires, plants, and marsh-microbes, and redeemed into water and food which I can eat. Tasty food. Good water.
Last night it snowed outside. Inside this experimental capsule it is warm, humid, and cozy. This morning the thick interior windows drip with heavy condensation. Plants crowd my space. I am surrounded by large banana leaves — huge splashes of heartwarming yellow-green color — and stringy vines of green beans entwining every vertical surface. About half the plants in this hut are food plants, and from these I harvested my dinner.
I am in a test module for living in space. My atmosphere is fully recycled by the plants and the soil they are rooted in, and by the labyrinth of noisy ductwork and pipes strung through the foliage. Neither the green plants alone nor the heavy machines alone are sufficient to keep me alive. Rather it is the union of sun-fed life and oil-fed machinery that keeps me going. Within this shed the living and the manufactured have been unified into one robust system, whose purpose is to nurture further complexities — at the moment, me.
What is clearly happening inside this glass capsule is happening less clearly at a …
Joris Laarman‘s Bone chair takes its inspiration from the efficient way that bones grow (adding material where strength is needed and taking away material where it’s unnecessary). Made using a digital tool developed by GM that copies these methods of construction, Laarman says the ironic result of his biomimetic technique is “an almost historic elegancy” that is “far more efficient compared to modern geometric shapes.”
Bye bye modernism. Hello nextnature? I’m really not sure whether this is a sneak preview into our bright future of grown objects or just an illustrative biomimicmarketing of a clever stylist. Anyhow it is a beautiful piece of furniture and I have no difficulties to image living my future primitive life in a whole bone-grown interior. Pity the production process is so incredibly expensive still.
Designing Rings with Bioengineered Bone Tissue. Married couples used to wear a ring as a symbol of their affective relationship. But with these bioengineered rings made out of bone tissue, the symbol becomes physical.
Sand Engine Reinforces Dutch Coastline
Now here is an hands-on example of ‘guided growth‘ as a way to steer complex systems.
Part of the Dutch coastline is currently being reinforced by creating a ‘sand engine’. This involves depositing 21.5 million cubic …
That shiny sparkling stone you got from your lover… is that a diamond? Lab manufactured diamonds are getting exceedingly good. They have the same color, clarity, cut and carat as minded diamonds and —since they are …