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. The Living is a design studio and an experiment in living architecture. Our work brings together natural and synthetic, human and machine, individual and collective. And it involves the intersection of biology, computation, and the circular economy. This lecture will describe each project as 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 anticipate and welcome rapid change. They cultivate the design of dynamic systems rather than fixed forms. And they embrace design with uncertainty.
David Benjamin is Founding Principal of The Living and Assistant Professor at Columbia University GSAPP. He and the firm have won many design prizes, including the Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League, the Young Architects Program Award from the Museum of Modern Art, and a Holcim Sustainability Award. Recently, Benjamin appeared in Rolling Stone as one of “25 People Shaping the Future,” and The Living was ranked third on Fast Company’s list of World’s Ten Most Innovative Architecture Firms. Clients include the City of New York, Seoul Municipal Government, Google, Nike, 3M, Airbus, BMW, Miami Science Museum, and Björk. Recent projects include the Princeton University Embodied Computation Lab (a new building for research on robotics and environment), Pier 35 EcoPark (a 200-foot-long floating pier that changes color according to water quality), and Hy-Fi (a tower for MoMA PS1 made of a new type of biodegradable brick).
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