David Benjamin

The Living

 

Buildings are living organisms. They breathe and pulse. They inhabit complex ecosystems of species, technologies, and culture. And understanding buildings requires understanding these vital signs and these ecosystems.
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The Living is a design studio and an experiment in living architecture. Our work brings together the natural and the synthetic, the human and the machine, the individual and the collective. And it involves the intersection of (1) biology, (2) computation, and (3) the circular economy.
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Our work with biology extends beyond biomimicry. While there is a long history of architects using biology as metaphor, our work employs actual living organisms to create alternative kinds of architecture. More specifically, we have developed three distinct techniques in this domain: bio-fabricating, bio-sensing, and bio-computing.
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Our work with computation extends beyond efficiency. We use generative design and artificial intelligence not only to achieve high performance, but also to augment our creativity. In addition, we use computation to aid stake-holders in discussing beliefs and making trade-offs between competing principles.
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Our work with the circular economy involves an expanded definition of sustainability. We believe buildings are not static objects dug into a single site; they are dynamic systems with a longer duration and a wider geography than the typical definition. And these broad extents will guide the sustainable buildings and cities of the future.
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Each of our projects is a prototype. Prototypes allow us to address today's urgent questions with today's available tools. They let us come up with radical ideas and develop them through making and testing. Our prototypes, in turn, become part of the complex ecosystems of buildings and cities, and integral to our vision for living architecture. This vision anticipates and welcomes rapid change. It cultivates the design of relationships rather than forms. And it embraces design with uncertainty.

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