Embodied Homeostasis

Author’s description:
Today, we live in a world of ubiquitous computation. Advancements in information technology and sensing objects have fundamentally disrupted the way not only digital space is perceived, but also altered the way social interaction is organized in our built environment. The organization of (not exclusively) human interaction in space is one of the main functions of the architectural discipline, it does so by organizing and programming matter into space. In opposition to the feedback driven and open-ended organization of digital materials and production, the procedures used to materialize architecture still rely heavily on top down and deterministic approaches. This leads towards an understanding of material where matter itself is without agency and put to rest in a singular condition. Architecture is still being built and formed to meet the demands of the tools of the first machine age and the spirit of mechanical mass production. The fact that today’s machines are not the ones Le Corbusier and his friends admired almost a century ago is being widely ignored. The project “embodied homeostasis” challenges this well-known hylomorphic approach in architecture and proposes a more morphogenetic strategy to create spaces by human interaction and its techno digital co-habitants.

The machine is not reduced to being a productive unit, but rather works as a diagram that describes processes of spacial organization that are structurally determined, but not formally. We leave behind a sequential approach towards architecture, namely idea-plan-execution, and move towards an understanding where the making and use are both mutually connected. Local design decisions lead to a convergence of material and organization and by this shift the design focus from plan to method and from object to action. The limit of the form is no longer the outline of its figure, but of material action. Within this project a prototypical actant in the form of a quadruped is developed to enable multi scalar material deposition and by this the modulation of space over time. Material deposition does not happen in an arbitrary manner but is suited to fit the ergonomics of each quadruped. Namely, one printed part of the structure enables further deposition and locomotion of the quadruped actants.

This proposal challenges the notion of the human hegemony on design. In this case the design of the machine itself was very specific, the formal architectural outcome on the macro level nevertheless was open. We also put forward the idea of animate matter, within the classical idea of architecture the ground is reserved for action and the elevation for perception. By perceiving matter as a fluid component within an ongoing design procedure this understanding is reversed. There is no longer a distinction between form and deformation. The focus shifts from making meaning to making sense, and even more towards dealing with senses. Within this interspecific and reactive design procedure lies a very sensous and bodily quality for each participant within the process of networked matter.

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