Design with Life: Biotech Architecture and Resilient Cities – Announcements

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Terreform ONE’s nonprofit mission is to “Design Against Extinction.” Our current book, Design with Life: Biotech Architecture and Resilient Cities on Actar was featured in the Eight Books event at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale. Equally, the projects of Terreform ONE/Terreform X are on exhibition at The VIENNA BIENNALE FOR CHANGE 2021 organized by MAK – Museum of Applied Arts opens May 28th.

In the challenging context of accelerating climate dynamics, the core discipline of architectural design is evolving and embracing new forms of action. New York-based Terreform ONE has established a distinctive design tactic that investigates projects through the regenerative use of natural materials, science, and the emergent field of socio-ecological design. This kind of design approach uses actual living matter (not abstracted imitations of nature) to create new functional elements and spaces. These future-based actions are not only grounded in social justice, but are also far-reaching in their application of digital manufacturing and maker culture. Terreform ONE tackles urgent environmental and urban social concerns through the integrated use of living materials and organisms.

Mitchell Joachim and Maria Aiolova, founders of Terreform ONE, describe their practice through various projects and prolific research that has made significant impact to what is increasingly recognized as socio-ecological design. Together they achieve an abundant collection of projects that validate these unique experimental methods, including the Monarch Sanctuary, a new urban building type to protect butterflies from extinction; Cricket Shelter and Farm, a series of modular volumes for harvesting alternate forms of insect protein; and biodegradable structures called Mycoform that invokes principles of synthetic biology to prototype 100% compostable furniture. Design with Life documents this growing body of work and outlines an original direction for a changing discipline, reviewing concepts at a range of scales for metropolitan areas. In an age where speed is everything, Terreform ONE reveals how future architecture and urban design practices can cultivate biological processes and create resilient answers to tomorrow’s wicked problems.

Design with Life is a book that made me smile and hope, that made me marvel at the inventiveness of the forms and feel seduced by a biophilic and technomorphic Garden of Eden rising out of the ruins of our soon-to-be-drowned cities. I do not know enough science to be able to judge whether any of this will work, but if architecture is going to help save our planet, I hope it does so with forms as beautiful as those Joachim and Terreform ONE create.” —ARCHITECT magazine