Nature x Humanity | A Lesson In Adaptive Architecture

Radical material varietals which replace the current extractive system, buildings that react in bio-sensitive ways, and cities which heal our planet.

“The documentary debuts at a critical juncture when the anthropomass—the mass produced by humans—has exceeded that of the living biomass on our planet.”

Neri Oxman is an impressive human.

I watched her give her Design at the intersection of technology and biology TED talk whilst attending TEDActive in 2015 and we connected virtually shortly after. Ever since I’ve been trying to bring her out to this fair land to either speak at TEDxWellington or Creative Leadership NZ (however, diaries never aligned).

She is the founder of The Mediated Matter Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology plus originator of Material Ecology: exploring / teaching at the intersection of technology, biology and sustainable design. The above is a retrospective of sorts relating to her work and an invitation to explore what is being done beyond ones own level of literacy.

I watched the short documentary hanging on by my cognitive-fingernails, as the conceptual and material potential shared realigned with something precious which has been lost of late when speaking to local leaders and industry professionals about their approach to city planning / building / construction industry practices, and that is, hope.

There is a vast amount of latent possibilities in the projects explored: whether it be 3D printing optically aligned glass with a molten calligraphy pen for high-efficiency solar-energy capture, adaptable bio-based structural materials with programmed decomposition, co-designing with silk-worms to inform future architectural forms and processes, synthesising pigments to enhance structures with their embodied properties, plus building autonomously at large-scale for urban settings; one ends the viewing experience seriously considering either retraining into this emerging field or at least supporting the best way one can to allow it to shape future discussions plus positively rebalance the world back to bio-equanimity*.

It’s all about making nature your / our client.

Thank you, Neri!

*my work as MC and podcast producer for the wonderful platform is playing some small part in this.

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