Note — Feb 14, 2021

Nurturing Architecture

Seen in → No.160

Source →

At Next Nature Network, an interview with Dr. Rachel Armstrong of Newcastle University concerning her practice of Experimental Architecture. A transdisciplinary and collaborative approach which touches on design, architecture, sustainability, the more-than-human realm, biology, and fiction. This forward looking practice based in prototyping and steeped in fiction makes for promising visions for architecture, our homes, and cities, but can also be a bit hard to parse between actual buildable work and prospective, since Dr. Armstrong will sometimes mention AI and blockchain where algorithm or software might have done, and talks of some farther off tech as if it’s almost here. Regardless, a bold outlook on evolving the field and engaging some of our pressing societal issues. Note the overlap with the interview in the next piece, which also proposes a bold vision that includes the biological as partner and inspiration.

As such, experimental architecture does not lay down a fixed road map for the future of our built environment, but builds upon continuous experiments and prototypes that are previously assessed and collectively endorsed. […]

The 21st century experimental architecture needs to be not a practice, neither an extension of the 20th century architecture but a practice of worlding. How do we make our worlds? It is not enough to make a building and place it within the existing infrastructures and utilities. […]

In a way, it goes against the industrial course of a designer to a practice of virtuosity that it is unique. It requires a more humble, more integrated but reciprocal form of design, for example, through practices of open source and crowdsourcing. It does not undermine the design process but gives designers a different toolset and a different set of challenges. […]

For me it is about experimenting. It is about fundamental curiosity. Learn the craft that you have entered and then just identify what it is that you care about. Use the things that you care about, to rebel against what you have been taught. Find others that can help you in building your critical community.