“Could architecture respond to humans?”
A worldwide pioneer in the fast-growing field of responsive architecture, Waterloo Architecture professor and sculptor Philip Beesleyand his team of collaborators pose the question “could architecture come alive?” In reply, they are creating spaces that dissolve into forest-like hovering fields, kin to primitive life-forms within dense jungles and ocean reefs. These responsive environments offer bodily immersion and wide-flung perception. Like a living reef, the environment follows cycles of opening, clamping, filtering and digesting. Empathic motions ripple out in peristaltic waves. Embedded machine intelligence allows human interaction to trigger breathing and swallowing motions and hybrid metabolic exchanges. ‘Living’ chemical systems within hives of filters and glands offer first stages of self-renewing synthetic biology that might take root within this architecture.
Beesley’s work is widely published and exhibited, and has been distinguished by awards including VIDA 11.0 and FEIDAD, and by the Prix de Rome in Architecture (Canada). In 2010 Beesley’s Hylozoic Ground project transformed the Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He was educated in visual art at Queen’s University, in technology at Humber College, and in architecture at the University of Toronto. The component systems and interactive controls of this collaborative work are custom designed and manufactured by the PBAI studio and Gorbet Lab with Waterloo Architecture and Engineering, Bartlett AVATAR and Syddansk Universitet FLinT groups.
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