Biological Systems: Outcomes in Architectural Design Studios

  • YEAR
    Ward, Devon
    Cameron, Robert
    Kronemeyer, Loren
    Jedenov, Kirill
    2017 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers


This conference paper is the second of two papers that discuss the outcomes of a long‐term
pedagogical research project into the integration of interdisciplinary design‐research, and making
practices into the content of second‐year architecture studios. This paper focuses on one studio involved
in the design of biological systems. The studio introduced students to the socio‐cultural and bioethical
dilemmas that arise when using living organisms as a design material. Students were required to create
a biological system using traditional design materials and Physarum Polycephalum, a harmless, yellow
single‐celled organism capable of solving complex mazes and which grows up to 30cm in length. Through
the design, prototyping, and testing of these systems students are encouraged to learn through practice,
developing their projects iteratively while being critical of the implications of their actions. Through a
discussion of the studio aims, structure, project examples, and outcomes, this paper outlines an initial
approach to teaching biological design within a studio context. Along with the paper on Responsive
Systems these works highlight the importance of critical engagement with materials and processes and of
opening up future architectural pedagogy to new fields of exploration.


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