It is timely in the Anthropocene, more than ever before, to search for a non-anthropocentric mode of reasoning, and consequently also of designing. The new PhotoSynthEtica Consortium, established in 2018 and including London-based ecoLogicStudio, the Urban Morphogenesis Lab (Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (UCL)) and the Synthetic Landscape Lab (University of Innsbruck, Austria), has therefore been pursuing architecture as a research-based practice, exploring the interdependence of digital and biological intelligence in design by working directly with non-human living organisms.
The research focuses on the diagrammatic capacity of these organisms in the process of growing and becoming part of complex bio-digital architectures. A key remit is training architects’ sensibility at recognising patterns of reasoning across disciplines, materialities and technological regimes, thus expanding the practice’s repertoire of aesthetic qualities.
Recent developments in evolutionary psychology demonstrate that the human sense of beauty and pleasure is part of a co-evolutionary system of mind and surrounding environment. In these terms, human senses of beauty and pleasure have evolved as selection mechanisms. Cultivating and enhancing them compensate and integrate the functions of logical thinking to gain a systemic view on planet Earth and the dramatic changes it is currently undergoing.
This lecture seeks to illustrate, through a series of recent research projects, how a renewed appreciation of beauty in architecture has evolved into an operational tool to design and measure its actual ecological intelligence.
Claudia Pasquero is an architect, curator, author and educator; her work and research operates at the intersection of biology, computation and design. She is founder and co-director of ecoLogicStudio in London, Lecturer and director of the Urban Morphogenesis Lab at the Bartlett UCL, Professor of Landscape Architecture and founder of the Synthetic Landscape Lab at Innsbruck University, senior staff at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. Claudia has been Head Curator of the Tallinn Architectural Biennale 2017, and she has been nominated in the WIRED smart list in the same year. She is co-author of “Systemic Architecture - Operating manual for the self-organizing city” published by Routledge in 2012. Her work has been published and exhibited internationally: at the FRAC Centre in Orléans, the Venice Architectural Biennale, ZKM Karlsruhe and the MilanoExpo2015 among others. ecoLogicStudio has in recent year completed a series of photosynthetic architectures, such as, the BioTechHut Pavilion for Expo Astana 2017, HORTUS Astana 2017, Urban Algae Folly Aarhus 2017, PhotoSynthEtica Dublin 2019, HORTUS XL 2020 for the Center Pompidou in Paris, PhotosSynthEtica Helsinki 2020 upon others.
The UTSOA Fall 2020 Lecture Series will be presented digitally through Zoom and will be live-streamed on the Texas Architecture YouTube channel. All lectures will take place at 1 PM unless noted otherwise.