TEDxUW – Philip Beesley – Building living architecture

An architect by profession but an artist by calling, Philip Beesley is a pioneer whose architectural breakthroughs have earned him international acclaim.

Perhaps most well-known for his extensive contributions to architectural environments that mimic life processes, Philip envisions a building that keeps on adjusting, slowly, logically and in response to its surroundings — almost as if it’s conscious and alive. Art and technology, when designed in such a manner, allow the creator to transcend the limitations of traditional schools of thought that focus on subject/object, organic/inorganic, static/dynamic and other types of binary worldviews.

A professor at the University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture in Cambridge, Ontario, Philip’s experimental research centres on the development of new responsive environments. Hylozoic Soil is part of a series of works that use proximity sensors to trigger tiny structures which assemble into a tangled network of “clouds” and tremble as visitors pass. Philip represented Canada at the Venice Biennale for Architecture, with a similar design called “Hylozoic Ground” that sipped water from a nearby lagoon — sifting carbon from the water to produce limestone which theoretically could be utilized to shore up the city of Venice’s sinking ground. His designs have attracted worldwide press attention — including that of the Discovery Channel.

A prolific author and thought leader, he has authored and edited eight books, three international proceedings and a number of catalogues, and has appeared on the covers of prestigious journals such as Artificial Life and Leonardo. Honored with some of the highest distinctions such as the Prix de Rome in Architecture, the Dora Mavor Moore Award and several Distinguished Performance awards from the University of Waterloo, his ground-breaking ideas are sure to redefine your experiences at the intersection of life, technology and the process of design.


This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

About TEDx

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

This talk is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx


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