The rapid development of innovative technological approaches in the realms of biology, microbiology, bio-technology, medicine and surgery are becoming of immense significance to architecture, demanding our attention due to their inevitable cultural, aesthetic and technical implications. Marcos Cruz investigates with students of Unit 20 at the Bartlett School of Architecture the impact of these emerging and progressive biological advances upon architectural and design practice. The unit has been looking at the current groundswell of experiments and creations that utilise digital design as a method to explore and manipulate actual biological material. A notion of design is emerging in which interdisciplinary work methodologies, traded between physicians, biologists and engineers, as well as artists and designers are increasingly occurring, giving rise to hybrid technologies, new materiality and hitherto unimaginable potentially living forms. The results of these conditions, defined as neoplasmatic, are partly designed object and partly living material. The line between the natural and the artificial is progressively blurred. More than derived from scaled-up analogies between biological conditions (cellular structures) and larger scale constructs (architecture), as commonly expressed in much contemporary bio-architectural work, Neoplasmatic Design implies ‘semi-living’ entities that require completely new definitions.
Work featured by Marcos Cruz and Unit 20 students Samuel White, Jens Ritter, Hannes Mayer, Yousef Al-Mehdari and Steve Pike.