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Behavioural Matter 3.0

Robert Stuart-Smith Studio 
Assistant: Tyson Hosmer

Qualitative Aspects of Building Life Cycle: Our lives endure for twice the amount of time that most of the buildings that we live, work or play within, while other buildings exist for much briefer time frames. We essentially consume buildings, yet unlike other products, the life cycle of a building and its constituent parts is rarely considered important in design – as a responsibility or as an opportunity. Behavioural Matter explores how non-linear design processes may be instrumentalised to generate a temporal architecture with a designed life cycle. Whilst considering environmental principles such as PLM1, DFD2 or Cradle-to-Cradle3, we will seek out the design of more qualitative aspects of a building’s life cycle, that may produce architectonic affects. We will investigate an architecture that is capable of organising and reconstituting material flows – qualitatively.

How small should architects think? At what scales is architectural design intent most affectively realised within building? Non-linear processes of formation and micro-material placement fabrication technologies offer a departure from Alberti’s concern with proportions, or Le Corbusier’s Maison Dom-ino canonical architectural system, emphasising a focus on emergent wholes that do not concern themselves with the assembly, expression or proportion of parts but rather with new opportunities in qualitative and temporal aspects of architectural design. Operating at numerous scales within an integrated tectonic, polyvalence may be achieved within the material product. Polyvalence implies that numerous designed affects with multiple desirable attributes may co-exist intrinsically within the design. In designing a polyvalent organisation of matter as architecture, the domain of design is extended beyond current modes of conception and production in order to incorporate more negotiated matter relations that operate within a designed life cycle.

Designing Architectural Microclimates: In Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond provides arguments for a geographical history of humanity where social, technological and economic change is heavily influenced by geography. Understanding architecture as a smaller type of geography suggests architects may design ‘architectural micro-climates’. In biology, a unique microclimate frequently results in the adaptation and evolution of distinct plants and animals. We will be designing architectural microclimates that aim to facilitate creative spatial appropriation.

High Density, Medium to Low Rise Co-Operative Housing: Co-operative housing will be investigated for its socially interactive and negotiated common spaces and its interface with its urban environs. Explored as a high-density medium to low-rise building typology, co-operative housing (such as the German Baugruppe) generates economic and political alternatives for housing within already established urban scenarios. With increasing levels of security infrastructure proliferating in today’s cities, versions of the co-operative housing concept allow varying degrees of controlled semi-public space to exist within the domestic domain.