bioPlastic Morphologies selected for the Pavilion of Innovation 2015

I am very happy to announce that bioPlastic Morphologies, one of my projects started within Design Studio 10, has been chosen as one of the 10 selected projects to be exhibited at the Pavilion of Innovation 2015 in the Beyond Building Barcelona International Exhibition (19-23 May).

The Pavilion of Innovation 2015, curated by IAAC | Fab Lab Barcelona, presents new ideas and construction paradigms emerging from international excellence in research and pilot projects, forming the basis of future buildings and cities. Novel and reactive materials, advanced digital/robotic manufacturing techniques and responsive environments are the key topics presented, towards shaping the future of the building industry.

I will give a talk on Friday 22nd of May so if you happen to be in Barcelona, come and hear about my project and the other amazing selected projects!



A Bio-Plastic temple in the Polymer Valley

After developing a series of experiments with bio-plastic made from potato starch, glycerine and vinegar, Marilu Valente created a digital form-finding technique which uses the same principles as the elastic material. Below is a plan of the resulting building, a bio-polymer centre in the Polymer Valley in Thelford, U.K. We will be updating this post soon but wanted you to see how a complex three-dimensional Architecture can still be communicated through a beautiful 2D plan.


Plan of the bio-plastic temple by Marilu Valente
Plan of the bio-plastic temple by Marilu Valente
Plan of the bio-plastic temple by Marilu Valente


We have personal computing, why not personal biotech? That’s the question biologist Ellen Jorgensen and her colleagues asked themselves before opening Genspace, a nonprofit DIYbio lab in Brooklyn devoted to citizen science, where amateurs can go and tinker with biotechnology. Genspace offers a long list of fun, creative and practical uses for DIYbio.

(bio)Plastic Morphologies

bioplastic r

What if Bioplastic could be used as a green construction material ?

Plastic can acquire any shape you give it.

But what about the natural behaviour of the viscous material?

Experiments consisting in elongating the viscous material can reveal an interesting form configuration that has inherent structural properties.

The rules defining the the material configuration are then coded into a script that enables to digitally replicate the shape. The structural performace of the shape opens the opportunity for many applications.

A bridge is imagined following the same formal configuration.

Spiritual Path, Sacred Place: Myth, Ritual and Meaning in Architecture


This is a very good book that thoroughly relates to our Brief 3.

“This book is a comparative study of how sacred space if formed and entered, documented by architectural examples from many different religions, locations, and historical settings. Moreover, it intends to establish correspondences between the religious and cultural setting and the architecture, arguing that sacred architecture often symbolizes the spiritual path and its goal. […] The book argues that sacred architecture often provided a detailed “symbol posted” way to spiritual transformation”.

The writer Thomas Barrie points out that “the Way, the spiritual path, the sacred journey” describe not only a spiritual and psychological setting but a physical one as well. Thus he attempts to show that “sacred architecture often provided a detailed ‘symbol posted’ way to spiritual transformation,” and he tries to illustrate this with specific examples in chapter 6. The first chapter provides an introductory overview. The second is about “symbols, structures, and rituals,” and includes archetypes, the hero’s journey, and pilgrimage. The third chapter is on “elements and experience” in architectural theory. In chapter 4 he discusses “the Sacred Path and Place,” including meaning and place, the place of creation, axis mundi etc., the celestial city, sacred geometry, and ritual settings. The fifth chapter describes the sacred use that can be made. Six types of paths: the axial, split, radial, grid, circumambulating, and segmented. The selected sites in chapter 6 are the Temple of Amun-Re; the Temple of Apollo; Koto-in Xen Temple, Daitoku-ji Monastery; the Cathedral of Sainte-Madeleine; and the Brion-Vega Cemetery. The final chapter, Arrival, is a kind of archetypal description of the elements common to many forms of sacred architecture. He criticizes modern architecture for its failure to provide “a meaningful sense of place and an articulated path to attain it—paths and places that perhaps lead us to a better understanding of who we are”.

Prototyping Architecture Conference at the Building Centre

Very inspiring conference today at the Building Centre.
The conference runs for 3 days (21st until 23rd of February). It brings together the work of architects, engineers, manufacturers, product designers, academics and artists to explore the importance of prototypes in the delivery of high quality contemporary design. Placing a particular emphasis on research and experimentation. Prototyping Architecture forms a bridge between architecture, engineering and art, with exhibits that are inventive, purposeful and beautiful.

Some highlights of today’s talks:

Sean Ahlquist‘s research MATERIAL EQUILIBRIA, which consists in the delicate and simultaneous relationship of articulated material behavior and differentiated structural form. This specific study investigates the variegation of knitted textiles, a jacquard weave of shifting densities, as it influences the structuring of a tensile spatial surface

– Manuel Kretzer’s Open Matter(s) network at


– The beautiful Shi Ling Bridge by Mike Tonkin, Tonkin Liu and Ed Clark


– Maquette’s, models and full-scale sample productions in the exhibition

The Role of Bioplastics, Bioenergy and Biofuels in Global Land Use

This is a very interesting article about the increasing role of Bioplastics and Bioenergy and its effects on the global land use.

The Role of Bioplastics- Bioenergy and Biofuels in Global Land Use

The Role of Bioplastics- Bioenergy and Biofuels in Global Land Use1

The article was published in March 2012

The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace

In relation to our Brief 3, I recently found this book written by Vincent Mosco, The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace.
In the book, Vincent Mosco goes beyond the usual stories of technological break through and economic meltdown to explore the myths constructed around the new digital technology and why we feel compelled to believe in them. He tells us that what kept enthusiastic investors in the dotcom era bidding up stocks even after the crash had begun was not willful ignorance of the laws of economics but belief in the myth that cyberspace was opening up a new world.Myths are not just falsehoods that can be disproved, Mosco points out, but stories that lift us out of the banality of everyday life into the possibility of the sublime. He argues that if we take what we know about cyberspace and situate it within what we know about culture — specifically the central post-Cold War myths of the end of history, geography, and politics — we will add to our knowledge about the digital world; we need to see it “with both eyes” — that is, to understand it both culturally and materially. After examining the myths of cyberspace and going back in history to look at the similar mythic pronouncements prompted by past technological advances — the telephone, the radio, and television, among others — Mosco takes us to Ground Zero. In the final chapter he considers the twin towers of the World Trade Center — our icons of communication, information, and trade — and their part in the politics, economics, and myths of cyberspace.


You can find a short book review here:


The Institute for Computational Design (ICD)  at the University of Stuttgart are collaborating on a new temporary research pavilion. The focus is on biomimetic design strategies for performative morphology in architecture, which form the basis of an investigation into integral structural, spatial and material systems.

As a first step physical models have been used to develop and refined the filament wrapping logic / syntax. In a first wrap (white yarn representing glass-fiber) the spatial enclosure of the pavilion is defined; in the subsequent wraps (black yarn / carbon-fibre) the fibres are placed according to the trajectories of the forces in the system. Through continuous wrapping and accretion of fibers a self-supporting and external load-bearing structure is generated.

Then the frame has been set up in a temporary weather enclosure during the time of fabrication.

During fabrication, the frame rotates while the robotic arm distribute the fibre.

Aetherius: the rhythm of wind

Aetherius: the rythm of wind
Aetherius: the rythm of wind

Vibrations are the very basis of life. Wherever we look in Nature we see self organising and self regulating systems that are in a state of constant vibration, oscillation, undulation and pulsation. Inspiration and expiration of the lungs, systole and diastole of the heart are only two basic examples.

The concept of Aetherius is to translate vibrations into a self organised and self regulated structure. Aetherius makes the participants experience an ephemeral ultra-light architecture in constant movement.

The artwork moves to the rhythm of the wind and becomes a living structure.
It is a visual experience as well as being an interactive experience. As the artwork moves, the participants react to its unpredictable behaviour. Not only Aetheius moves with the windy climatic conditions, but it can also be animated by the particpants.
In summary it is a delicate ephemeral structure that reflects the subtle nature of a vibrating system.