IAAC LECTURE SERIES: ALISA ANDRASEK – BIOTHING

Tonight at IAAC, Alisa Andrasek, architect, curator and founding principal of Biothing gave us a lecture explaining how computational simulations could allow us  to access to behavioral tendencies of matter at a finer grain. Through several projects, Alisa showed the different uses that the new technologies can offer to architecture, not only in terms of visualization but specially in terms of production.

Because of architecture’s nascent tendency to synthesize myriad of agencies involved in the formation of design, it has the potential to play an important role within accelerated convergence of matter and information. While data visualization techniques widespread in other fields are productive for the communication and legibility of large data, they are not yet explicitly involved in production. Data materialization however, involves the direct activation of an abundance of data in the formation of other systems, via a connective hinge positioned within the domain of design. What could be called data materialization is opening up the potential for architecture to finally resonate with the complexity of ecology. While data visualisation exposes the hidden beauty, intelligence, and complexity of observed systems, data materialization can produce such beauty and complexity within new synthetic fields. Through recently expanded computational simulations within design, it is becoming possible to access behavioral tendencies of matter at a finer grain. Scientific discoveries and harvested data can now be incorporated into massive resolution material speculations via newly revealed algorithmic profiles of matter, increasing designability of matter and opening doors for enriched synthesis. Unlike the principles of total holism that characterized early ecological thinking, this kind of synthetic landscape offers resilience and redundancy of Increased Resolution Architectural Fabrics, with an enlarged capacity for interweaving contingent agencies.

Alisa Andrasek is an experimental practitioner and research based educator of architecture and computational processes in design. In 2001 she founded Biothing, a cross-disciplinary laboratory that focuses on the generative potential of computational systems for design. In 2005 she initiated CONTINUUM, an interdisciplinary research collective focusing on advanced computational geometry and software development. Andrasek graduated from the University of Zagreb, and holds a Masters in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University.  She teaches architecture studios and theory seminars at the Architectural Association in London (AA DRL) and has taught at Columbia University, Pratt Institute, the University of Pennsylvania, RMIT Melbourne and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and has lectured at architecture schools worldwide.  Andrasek was co-winner of the Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition, 2005 and received the FEIDAD Design Merit Award, 2004. Recent exhibitions of biothing’s work include: Permanent Collection Centre Pompidou Paris 2009; FRAC Collection in Orleans 2009; Transitory Objects TB-A21 in Vienna 2009; Synathroisis in Athens Greece 2008; Scripted by Purpose at the F.U.E.L. gallery in Philadelphia 2007; Seroussi pavilion at the Maison Rouge gallery in Paris 2007; Ars Mathematica in Paris 2007; the 2003 Prague Biennale; the 2004 Sydney Biennial; Architectural Biennial Beijing 2004, 2006 and 2008; and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, 2005. She curated the East Coast section for the “Emergent Talent Emergent Technologies” exhibition for the Beijing Biennial 2006 and for the “(Im)material Processes: New Digital Techniques for Architecture” for the Beijing Biennial 2008.

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