3B / 01:: Ecological Machines 2.0

Unit Master : Amit Gupta



(Eco_chines....anagram from Ecological Machines)
Around a century ago, Le Corbusier published his own influential book, Towards an Architecture, in which he famously wrote the words. “Une maison est une machine-à-habiter”  (“A house is a machine for living in”)
The phrase suggested a kind of machinic aesthetic that became an important concept behind the functionality, standardization and rational order that together laid the foundation of modern architecture. Suggesting that  temporally we have moved from  the ‘age of machines’ to an ‘age of intelligent ecologies’, and contemporarising the argument, Unit 3C/01 aims to extend the analogy of machine,  to ‘adaptive’ mechanisms, and places a pedagogical case for rethinking architectural assemblage as Eco-chines ( ‘ecological’ machines); underlining the belief that ‘built’ habitat, a ‘collective’ of machines, needs to draw from and be responsive to its ecological location. 
The unit postulates that Eco-chines, architectural constructs/ morphologies, that emerge from convergences of the spatial and the environmental experiences; that  delve into more scientific and precise relationship between the design object and its environment;  could fulfill their functional purpose as well as offer greater probabilities of social and cultural inclusiveness that impacts human well-being. Methodologically, Unit 3C/01 seeks a speculative quest into an inclusive, symbiotic and sensitive built habitat through careful observation and derivative extractions from study of nature.  
Nature’s way is intriguingly unique. Natural habitat when observed closely, reveal that natural formations possess high levels of seamless integration and a relatively stable equilibrium, a homeostasis,  between interdependent ‘elements’. In nature, forms are the result of the matching between material parameters and their corresponding environmental constraints. Form is then merely a by-product, a derivative of natural behavioral formation. It emerges as an effect exclusive to its particular ecological template.


(Mat_morph ...... anagram from Material Morphosis)
“The material structure itself is the machine.”
“Design based upon material properties and environmental conditions promotes customization through formal, structural and material heterogeneity.”

(Material Computation: Essay by Neri Oxman Book. Manufacturing The Bespoke.) 

The unit projects shall  aim to plug-in to the adaptive architecture agenda through a focused design interrogation into the ‘material’  information of the ‘terra’ that is contiguous to the location of the design object. The unit proposes an approach in design where processes of form-generation are directly informed by the combination of material properties and environmental constraints. Following the Eco-mimetic strategy, the unit shall engage in prototypical generations to evaluate and understand the structural, compositional and behavioral principles that are intrinsic to the chosen material/ material systems. Material precedes shape, and it is the structuring of material properties as a function of structural and environmental performance and use that generates design form. In proposing a unique approach to computationally enabled form-finding procedures, the unit projects shall investigate how such processes contribute to novel ways of creating, distributing and depositing material forms.
Shifting design practice from homogeneous modular design driven by the logic of material assembly to heterogeneous differentiated design driven by material distribution corresponding to the structural, environmental or, indeed, social parameters, the projects shall explore a novel mode of responsive architecture based on the combination of material inherent behavior and computational morphogenesis  to construct a ecological relative / responsive adaptive architectural morphology.  In fostering material integration of architectural elements across various scales, architectural elements such as structure and facade are no longer divorced in function and/or behavior, but rather negotiated through the informed distribution of matter. 

Ecological design 
Ecological design thinking requires a radical departure from traditional research and design models in architecture, art and science with a move towards hybrid, trans-disciplinary concepts and models for collaborating. Following a  synergistic, bottom-up approach the unit not only aims to set up models of ecological design but also address pressing topics in our fields concerning key social, environmental and technological issues that ultimately impact all humans in our built environments.