Proto-materials: Material practices in architecture at molecular and cellular scales

Dade-Robertson, Martyn, Zhang, Meng, Ramirez-Figueroa, Carolina, Hernan, Luis, Beattie, John, Lyon, Alexander, Ryden, Markus and Welford, Malcolm (2013) Proto-materials: Material practices in architecture at molecular and cellular scales. In: Prototyping architecture. Riverside Architectural Press, Toronto, pp. 211-223. ISBN 9781926724256

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Vitruvius suggested in his texts 'On Architecture' that architecture is an imitation of nature, but what happens when architecture becomes nature and we begin, through the design of biological systems, to become architects of nature? Just as the latter part of the twentieth century was transformed through information technologies, it is widely predicted that the twenty-first century world will be radically changed by the emerence of biotechnology. Biological systems exhibit a wide variety of forms and functions, make highly efficient use of energy and other resources and are capable of processes such as programmed self assembly and and adaptability which are very difficult or, in some cases, impossible to achieve using more traditional human engineered systems. To this end, Synthetic Biology has been heralded as an important technological and design paradigm, enabling the development
of complex material systems.

Synthetic Biology has been the subject of debate in a number of disciplines, including architecture. The possibility of designing material forms through the manipulation of molecular and microscopic scale structures offers a radically different way of thinking about the design process and its possible outcomes. These speculations also raise important epistemological, ethical and practical questions about the role of design in this new field.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Proceedings of the Prototyping Architecture Conference which took place at The Building Centre, London, 21 – 23 February 2013.
Subjects: C700 Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry
K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Applied Sciences
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Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2014 11:53
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 18:28

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