Adaptive Design Lecture: Philip Beesley, “Radiant Soil: Diffusion and Extimacy”

If my clothing floats and ripples outward, and if fluxing heat and cold cloaks me, do the boundaries of my body lie at my skin or do they lie beyond? Looking inward, at the bundled vesicles at the amygdala and limbic core of my bicameral brain and at the distributed neural matter and ranging islands of ganglia in pineal, chest, elbows and knees, it is tempting to characterize my body as a kind of ragged archipelago bound together by tribal agreement.  These images speak of an expanded physiology.  In their diffusion and their multiple forms, they might offer models for a renewed architecture. 

The work that I am pursuing with my collaborators is founded in intimacy and touch.  The structures of this space are saturated with turbulence that offers clutching, and pulling. Components are controlled by actuators and sensors, producing responses that ripple outward sharing space with the viewers. The work sets out ghost-like crystalline forms following diagrids and textile forms that make lightweight, resonant scaffolds. Simple chemical exchanges within liquid circulation systems traced throughout these structures form protocell vesicles, suggesting an active metabolism. Networks of simple computational devices and sensors allow viewers to be tracked, offering small increments of gentle muscular movements that register our own presence, rippling back to us, starting to offer a sense of breathing, ambient architecture.

Philip Beesley is a professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo. A practitioner of architecture and digital media art, he was educated in visual art at Queen’s University, in technology at Humber College, and in architecture at the University of Toronto. At Waterloo he serves as Director for the Integrated Group for Visualization, Design and Manufacturing, and as Director for Riverside Architectural Press. He also holds the position of Examiner at University College London. His Toronto-based practice PBAI is an interdisciplinary design firm that combines public buildings with exhibition design, stage and lighting projects. The studio’s methods incorporate industrial design, digital prototyping, and mechatronics engineering. Philip Beesley’s work is widely cited in the rapidly expanding technology of responsive architecture. He has authored and edited eight books and appeared on the cover of Artificial Life (MIT), LEONARDO and AD journals. Features include national CBC news, Casa Vogue, WIRED, and a series of TED talks.  His work was selected to represent Canada at the 2010 Venice Biennale for Architecture, and he has been recognized by the Prix de Rome in Architecture, VIDA 11.0, FEIDAD, two Governor General’s Awards and as a Katerva finalist. Beesley’s funding includes core CFI, SSHRC, NSERC and Canada Council for the Arts grants.

The event is sponsored by the GSD Technology Platform as part of the Adaptive Design lecture series.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the events office two weeks in advance at 617 496 2414 or [email protected]

GSD Technology Platform

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].