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Living Architecture: How Synthetic Biology Can Remake Our Cities and Reshape Our Lives (Kindle Single) (TED Books)
 
 

Living Architecture: How Synthetic Biology Can Remake Our Cities and Reshape Our Lives (Kindle Single) (TED Books) [Kindle Edition]

Rachel Armstrong

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Product Description

Product Description

What will the city of the future look like? More like an ever-changing and vibrant garden than a static set of buildings and blocks. In 'Living Architecture,' British scientist and architect Rachel Armstrong re-imagines the world’s extensive urban areas and argues that in order to achieve sustainable development of the built environment — and help countries like Japan recover from natural disasters — we need to start thinking differently. Armstrong sets the scene for considering different ways of making structures and materials, suggesting that we can ‘grow’ more ecologically compatible buildings by using life-like technologies, such as protocells. The result is a new kind of architectural practice where cities behave more like an evolving ecosystem than lifeless machines.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 297 KB
  • Print Length: 51 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0076QQJMY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #169,042 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What if? A vision to reclaim and reshape the way we design and build 12 Feb 2012
By Rett01 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Villagers in remote Cherrapunji India build footbridges by training root tendrils from trees that are members of the banyan family to span rocky gullies and gorges. The living bridges can reach 30 meters. They're permanent and strong enough for 50 people to cross at a time.

The root bridges of Cherrapunji are a primitive example of living architecture, using nature and bio-mechanisms to design and build without relying on traditional industrial, machine-manufactured processes. Living architecture offers a bold, futuristic vision that sounds like science fiction but according to the author is a fresh idea that despite many challenges is eminently workable, and represents a practical way to reclaim and sustain our environment.

"Living Architecture" is Armstrong's blueprint for attaining that new, audacious vision.

In order to grasp the concept of living architecture, you need to understand "protocells," which are the building blocks of the new living materials and methodologies that might supplement and even supplant existing design and manufacturing methods.

Protocells are not living molecules. They don't contain DNA and can't reproduce. But they can be "created" by combining natural chemicals and substances (oil mixed with an alkaline solution, for example) and they do have properties such as the ability to organize themselves into microstructures. They exhibit behaviors such as movement and sensitivity to biological or chemical elements and light, for example.

In a big "What-If" Armstrong asks what if we could employ to protocell principles to stabilize one of the "most ferociously unstable" places on the planet - Venice, which is crumbling from the corrosive effects of being assaulted for three centuries by the forces of nature.

Armstrong suggests using protocell technology to shape the natural processes taking place in Venice to reclaim the ancient city-state. It is theoretically and most likely practically possible to mix up a protocell stew using natural agents that would be used to grow a vast limestone reef that would serve as a permanent foundation to support the city. Light-sensitive protocell colonies could be created to gradually petrify the wooden pilings, which would then slow the city from sinking into the soft mud on which it sits.

Using Venice as an example is one of the more easy to understand explanations of how living architecture might reclaim and reshape our world and offer a new paradigm for how we think about the way we design and build. It's one of many examples Armstrong calls upon in her T.E.D. essay.

This is by no means an easy read. It feels as if she's presenting at a conference, lecturing to colleagues who know exactly what's she's talking about. But just because it's a slog doesn't mean it's not worth the time. It's a provocative essay that causes you to pause and think: what if what Armstrong presents as a new vision might actually be realized.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On Living Architecture 8 Feb 2012
By Ben - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Living Architecture was written in the wake of the recent devastating Japanese tsunami and reflects on some of the architectural practices that underpin modern urban development. It asks the question 'why do we, as living creatures inhabit things that are not alive?' and sets the scene for fundamentally different ways of making structures and materials. New possibilities are discussed in the context of recent scientific developments. `Living technology' is a set of new technologies whose performance lies somewhere between machines and biology. As such, they blur the distinction between living and non-living processes as well as challenge the separation assumed to exist between a building and its natural environment. Living Architecture proposes a new relationship for urban development where people work in concert with and orchestrate the forces of nature using living technology to create new architectural outcomes. The proposed approaches are compatible with ecologically engaged practices such as, Panarchy, Permaculture and Biomimicry and takes a multi-systems view of Living Architecture at many scales of operation ranging from the micro scale, to the city. Living Architecture is at an early stage of development but its speculative approach is based on real world experiments, which are also discussed in this book. Additionally Living Architecture reflects on a possible alternative scenario for the devastated Sendai coastal region should the potential of living architecture be fulfilled, which takes the form of a short science fiction story.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living Architecture - the next revolution in making 7 Feb 2012
By Ben - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Living Architecture has a mission - to set the scene for fundamentally different ways of making structures and materials. The aim is to `grow' more ecologically compatible buildings by using life-like technologies. The result is a new kind of architectural practice where cities behave more like an ecosystems than machines. Living Architecture was written in the wake of the recent devastating Japanese tsunami and asks 'why do we, as living creatures inhabit things that are not alive?'.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could be much better 22 July 2013
By Rad Racer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am interested in living architecture and megacities so was looking forward to reading this. I've read a few articles on both topics prior. And learned much more from those articles than this book. The writing in this book is pretty tedious. Seems more like a first draft and could use a good editor. The info itself isn't very cohesive either, or actually saying much at all; except maybe a very basic overview. All in all, this book is more like a psuedo sci-fi daydream with a few impressions of examples. Probably worth the $2, but you get what you pay for in this case.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Review, but no concrete ideas or depth 6 Sep 2012
By Andrew Waller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An interesting review of some current thinking on biologically based architecture. It doesn't seem very coherent, nor does it give many specific details as to the "how this could be achieved." I often had the impression that I was reading a college capstone paper. It's a small cost if you are interested in the subject matter, however.
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Popular Highlights

 (What's this?)
&quote;
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. Buckminster Fuller &quote;
Highlighted by 14 Kindle users
&quote;
Terreform ONE, an interdisciplinary architectural design practice in New York, has envisaged growing a leathery skin, dubbed "Meat House," for buildings. &quote;
Highlighted by 6 Kindle users
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Living systems have the ability to endure what the future holds for them without needing to make accurate predictions. &quote;
Highlighted by 6 Kindle users

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