Eight practitioners from the US, Canada and Mexico have been selected to receive The Architectural League of New York’s 33rd annual Emerging Voices award - one of the most coveted awards in North American architecture. Each recipient was selected for being a “distinct design voice” with the “potential to influence" disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism.
“This year’s Voices critically re-envision solutions for contemporary design concerns—programmatic, typological, and tectonic—that have the potential to inspire new approaches to building and form,” says program director Anne Rieselbach.
Biomimicry is quickly emerging as one of the next architectural frontiers. New manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, coupled with the drive to make buildings more environmentally sustainable, have led to a wave of projects that are derived from natural phenomena or even constructed with biological materials. A recent example of this trend is “Hy-Fi,” this summer’s MoMA PS1 design that is constructed of organic and compostable eco-bricks. Other projects such as MIT Media Lab’s Silk Pavilion have taken biological innovation a step further by actually using a biometric construction processes - around 6,500 silkworms wove the Silk Pavilion's membrane. “Animal Printheads,” as Geoff Manaugh calls them in his article "Architecture-By-Bee and Other Animal Printheads," have already proven to be a viable part of the manufacturing process in art, and perhaps in the future, the built environment as well. But what happens when humans engineer animals to 3D print other materials?
As an immigrant “who has made lasting contributions to American society through extraordinary achievements in biomedical research and the arts and humanities,” Israeli-born designer and architect Neri Oxmanhas been selected as the 2014 Vilcek Prize in Design’s recipient.
As a designer, architect, artist and founder of the Mediated Matter group at MIT’s Media Lab, Neri Oxman has dedicated her career to exploring how digital design and fabrication technologies can mediate between matter and environment to radically evolve the way we design and construct our built world. In this article, which was first published by CNN, Oxman discusses the future of 3D printing buildings with five tenets of a new kind of architecture.
Today, 3D Printing technology lives in the realm of small plastic tchotchkes. But economists, theorists, and consumers alike predict that 3D printers will democratize the act of creation and, in so doing, revolutionize our world. Which poses an interesting quandary: what will happen when we can print houses? Last week, I discussed the incredible capabilities of 3D Printing in the not-so distant future: to quickly create homes for victims of disaster/poverty; to allow the architect the freedom to create curvy, organic structures once only dreamed of. But, if we look a little further afield, the possibilities are even more staggering. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll introduce you to Neri Oxman, an architect and MIT professor using 3D Printing technology to create almost-living structures that may just be the future of sustainable design. Oxman’s work shows how 3D Printing will turn our concept of what architecture – and the architect – is, completely on its head.
Neri Oxman is an architect and founder of MATERIALECOLOGY with the MIT Media Lab. Her work focuses on computational strategies for form finding; she chooses to define and design processes that generate form. She has published numerous papers and has contributed to various texts. Her work has also been featured at the MOMA for the exhibit "Design and the Elastic Mind", which she designed four systems of processes. In this lecture posted by PopTech, Oxman discusses what the processes of nature can teach designers and how computational strategies defined by materials and the environment can expand the possibilities of the generation of form through algorithms and analysis.Follow us after the break for more.Emergence can be defined by a spontaneous order, a self-organization, that appears in nature and natural processes. It can be studied on multiple scales; in the cells of plants and animals and in the traffic patterns of developed cities. Oxman points to processes in nature that are defined by the rules of biological functions and from which form are generated. Without a notion of the end result, the processes are based on their functionality, for example, how structural and efficient the stem of a plant is at supporting its weight and creating energy.Oxman's work is inspired by the quest for the origin of form and form finders of the 1970s that were led by material and environmental properties. Form, in this case, is an optimization of the function of a material in its environment - "what it wants to be". Technology can and often is the guide that informs the exploration and eventually evolves from it. Oxman takes these notions many steps further with her work in "computationally enabled form finding". The equation that she presents so simple that takes the variables of material properties and environmental constraints to generate form.The inquisitiveness of Buckminster Fuller's designs for efficient structures was guided by the optimization of materials in form - such as a the geodesic dome. But his explorations of the Dymaxion automobile and house inpired ideas that pushed beyond what the materials wanted to be and into what the environment wanted to be, what society wanted to be - ideas that we are now reviving in our quest for sustainable architectural solutions. In the meantime, technology is taking nature many steps forward, rushing beyond the limits of what nature can do and defining a different existence that humans enjoy, setting us apart from the lifestyles of our ancestors.And the tragedy that we have come upon is that our technological ambitions are destroying the earth and the natural processes that it relies upon. Somewhere in between the runaway advancements and the devastating effects they cause to our ecosystems is something Oxman calls "nature 2.0". This is a considerable idea, involved with embracing the natural organizations of materials as well as their natural functions - so not just form, but also very explicitly function. She praises nature for being so efficient at multi-tasking: analysis, modelling and fabrication in one process.In this model of "nature 2.0" and technology, the designer is an experimenter of generating options for forms under a variety of circumstances. Technology offers the tools to analyze, map and build upon observations and designers can use these tools in a variety of ways, some of which Oxman touches upon in her lecture.Video via YouTube user PopTech.