Living Building Skins

Areti Markopoulou | IAAC | ka-au

The paper presented here uses research case studies developed within the Digital Matter Studio of the IAAC Master in Advanced Architecture program 2013-14 and 2016-17. The selection of projects presented here were developed by the following student authors:
Akanksha Rathee, Elena Mitrofanova, Pongtida Santayanon (Hydroceramic Tile)
Irene Ayala Castro, Montakan Manosong , Ya Chieh Chang, Zina Alkani (Water-Driven Breathing Skin)
Nasser Ghannam, Guoliang Zhang, Mohamad Al Chawa, Dongliang Ye (SoRO)
and the following faculty supervisors:
Areti Markopoulou (Senior Faculty)
Alexandre Dubor (Faculty and Fabrication Assistant)
Moritz Begle (Assistant Coordinator)
Angelos Chronis (Computational Assistant)

For centuries, we have been building searching for rigidness. This has been related, of course, with the notion of security, protection, property and privacy. Rigid concrete columns were first of all incredibly stable – this is the core importance, beyond feasibility, accessibility and cost. Today we are experiencing a shift in perception of notions such as privacy, solidity or stability. We are constantly on the move, both physically and digitally. We work far from where we live, or we live in more than one city, and more than one home, with multiple possibilities of accessible and quick communications to places and people.

Technologies are thriving in our fluid times, contributing to our familiarization with unprecedented non-solid environments.

At the same time we are experiencing a massive environmental crisis. Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, extreme weather events, collapsing ecosystems, desertification, toxic pollution, sea level rise or blue sky extinction are part of an extensive list, both protagonist and cause for the historic gathering and climate pact of 195 countries in Paris in 2016.

For a significant group of architects and researchers, the non-solid environments of our digital era seem to be the perfect playground for exploring novel possibilities for adaptive building solutions that can contribute to our energy-hungry lives and inhabiting style. If the anthropocene (or capitalocene [1]) scenario of human impact needs constant change – if climate mutates, if information “runs” at extreme speeds of bits and bytes – then our human-made architecture and built space should be able to change, “run” and mutate rather than just merely being inhabited. Architecture shall move and is moving towards the performative [2], the performative instrument [3] or the alive [4].

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[1] Andreas Malm, 2009
[2] Kolarevic, B., Malkawi. A. Performative Architecture: Beyond Instrumentality, Routledge (2004)
[3] Beesley, P, and Khan, O. Responsive Architecture/Performing Instruments, New York: The Architectural League of New York. (2009).
[4] Manuel Kretzer, 2010
[5] United Nations and World Meteorological Organization scientific panel that periodically reviews the scientific basis for climate change.

[1] Hydroceramic tile is a research project of IAAC, developed during the Master in Advanced Architecture in 2014/2015, for Digital Matter Studio by:
Students: Akanksha Rathee, Elena Mitrofanova, Pongtida Santayanon
Senior Faculty: Areti Markopoulou, Faculty assistant: Alexandre Dubor, Assistant Coordinator: Moritz Begle
[2] Water Driven Breathing Skin is a research project of IAAC, developed during the Master in Advanced Architecture in 2016/2017, for Digital Matter Studio by:
Students: Irene Ayala Castro, Montakan Manosong,  Ya Chieh Chang,  Zina Alkani
Senior Faculty: Areti Markopoulou, Fabrication assistant: Alexandre Dubor, Computational Assistant: Angelos Chronis
[3] SORO is a research project of IAAC, developed during the Master in Advanced Architecture in 2016/2017, for Digital Matter Studio by:
Students: Nasser Ghannam, Guoliang Zhang, Mohamad Al Chawa, Dongliang Ye
Senior faculty: Areti Markopoulou, Fabrication assistant: Alexandre Dubos, Computational Assistant: Angelos Chronis