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Digital-Botanic Architecture

Digital-Botanic Architecture • eBook

D-B•A

Dennis Dollens




Dennis Dollens

D-B•A




Digital-Botanic Architecture




Dennis Dollens

Xfrog grown pod & stem structure. 2004.

Cover: Dennis Dollens. Xfrog grown tree as architectural, structural support with leaves as floors. Edited in Rhino and rendered in 3D Studio MAX. See page 33. Back Cover: Dennis Dollens. Xfrog grown tall Pod & Leaf building conceptually hybridized from Louis Sullivan’s A System of Architectural Ornament. See page 96. Portions of the introduction first appeared in Leonardo 38/1, © 2005 Leonardo/ ISAST. Expanded and edited, this text appears here with thanks to the editors at the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (ISAST) for initially publishing the work and for permission to reprint it here. Copyright © 2005 Dennis Dollens Copyright © 2009 eBook Dennis Dollens Copyright © 2005 Lumen, Inc. ISBN: 0-930829-54-9 Printed in the Unites States of America Lumen Books and SITES Books are imprints of Lumen, Inc., a non-profit, taxexempt organization based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and specializing in literary works, literary translations, and architecture and digital technologies. Lumen, Inc. 40 Camino Cielo Santa Fe, New Mexico 87506 www.lumenbooks.org Distributed by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution 1045 Westgate Drive St. Paul, MN 55114 www.cbsd.com 800-283-3572




Digital-Botanic Architecture

Biomimetic Architecture: Introduction 5 Seeding a Digital-Botanic Architecture 19 Growing with Xfrog 39 Growing Game Space 46 SymbioticA 58 Biomimetic Bridge 68 Digital-Botanic Specimens 84 Conclusion 90 Bibliography / Glossary 92




Dennis Dollens




Digital-Botanic Architecture

Biomimetic Architecture: Introduction He always associated it with Sir Charles Sherrington’s more ornate, and not meaningless metaphor for thought. “The brain is an enchanted loom where millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern.” A.S. Byatt. A Whistling Woman In one of the most appealing conjectures for the birth of architecture, Gottfried Semper outlined a series of hypothetical developments in which he saw a fundamentally different order from that of earlier theorists who claimed the mere hut as architecture’s starting point. Semper speculated that ancient technology in the form of craft production—pottery, weaving, knotting—held a key that then opened the way to conceptual development of a frame covered with woven walls and roof. Technology, as manifested in weaving, brought forth the transformation of plant fiber into rigid, semi-flexible, or flexible rugs, mats, lattices (planar geometric objects serving to clad matrices) that could then be conceptualized as partitions or walls. With the wall, the potential division and subdivision of otherwise abstract space, virtual space became physical; and here, in the spatial matrix, divided and articulated, architecture began to breathe—a breath filtered through botanical/ technological construction. Semper saw weaving as an architectural act, not as a metaphor. Additionally he saw knotting, lashing, braiding, and banding as related crafts—joinery—pointing to complementary technological developments where woven panels could be connected sequentially—tiled—to make spatial




Dennis Dollens

partitions modular—a global practice continuing today, from the marshlands of Iraq to spontaneous squatter cities around the world. From this most organic and technological view of the birth of architecture we are going to jump almost 150 years into the present—sometimes referencing Semper’s ideas in a historic vein and sometimes in a new context of weaving/knotting information; sometimes, more metaphorically, looking to instances where informational, scientific, and computational developments are leading to the generation of new ideas that, in turn, power generative visions, technologies, or strategies for architecture—for example, through biotechnology, algorithmic growth, and/or biomimetic design. Throughout these pages a conscious link with historical thought and technology will be woven as part of the hypothesis that architecture, as a living system of expression, is continuous; that it is a biological, intellectual, and philosophical expression of its builders; and that tools such as computers are today’s looms for digital, virtual weavings. Semper’s vision of architecture pictured man manipulating plant matter with analog technologies; mine will include another look at plants with the benefit of digital technologies—from mimetic morphology to platonic forms sculpted by induced evolutionary forces forming new types of digital and analog cellular life and genetic-related geometries.




Digital-Botanic Architecture

Left: Semper’s braids. Right: Margaret Randall’s photograph of woven, urban walls in Peru’s Pueblos Nuevos. 1973-74.

I If virtual reality has become a pop cliché, we need to remember that its visualization and rendering technologies as well as their generating computational systems were among the first to cross mainline, analog perception with demonstrations that other realities exist (ironically, still just a little beyond our grasp)—digitally guided realities, not merely computerized mechanical systems and labor-saving machines. Still, cyberspace would remain a poor intellectual cousin to Surrealism except for the fact that ultimately its “consensual hallucination” can and will be rationalized, built, experienced, and retooled as a conditioner for nanoand bio-generated architectures. Even if virtual place is now emerging from cyberspace, its manifestation for architecture (outside the game world) is still on the horizon. After all, being “everywhere and nowhere” (a claim made for cyberspace) currently ends you up in something as exciting as spamland. Nevertheless, the idea of virtual place has deeply inflected, infected, and influenced the thinking of a




Dennis Dollens

A System of Architectural Ornament According with a Philosophy of Man’s Powers Plate 2 Louis H. Sullivan American, 1856-1924 Manipulation of the Organic Pencil on Strathmore paper 1922, 57.7 x 73.5 cm Commissioned by The Art Institute of Chicago 1988.15

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sufficient number of architects, artists, and theorists to push spatial reality through new filters, to hybridize thoughts so that they begin to grow new forms and that these new forms, structures, and materials can fuse with the promise of earlier VR experiments that will, in fact, be grown physically and eventually be inhabitable. Currently, such investigations are taking place in many areas; some that we will see here look to medical technologies, game development, compression and algorithmic generation as well as to digital/analog botanic growth. All the experimental work looks to generate ideas, theories, and/or structures lodged in the folds of digital visualization, computational botany, biology, programming, medicine, physics, history, and philosophy. A couple of further notes will open some of the folds and clarify some metaphors of this new view of a digital-botanic architecture, permitting a deeper look into the inner folds. Most essential in this regard is a working understanding of the terms meme, monad, and meme-monad in relation to, but different from, mimetic and biomimetic, and we will take these as they come. II The idea of live architecture has existed for a long time. In the literature of architecture, building and body as organism have been identified, organized, and categorized together for centuries—a trail of thought built, written, and published. This concept, though widely distorted by 17th- and 18th-century Cartesian perspectives (when it was believed that the universe, excepting the human soul, could be mechanically explained) ultimately survived to infuse, insert, and/or infect a hybrid notion of machine/

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organism. Cartesian perspective slowly evolved by means of the thoughts and theories of Leibniz, Darwin, Einstein, and Watson and Crick (and, of course, many others), splicing an organic perspective back to the mechanical. Even so, I speculate that today most people consider architecture’s position unshakably mechanist, and it is only with effort that this view can be contested by suggesting in its place an evolutionary pedigree by which architecture is a kind of biologic organism and a potential, if mostly unacknowledged, near-life or semilife form to be investigated in the animating force-field and particle-universe represented in quantum theory and demonstrated in physics, biochemistry, biotechnology, cellular automata, and nanotechnology. Here, in these pages, at least, architecture is not inert objects. Furthermore, it is important for the reader to recognize that I’m entertaining a conceptual possibility of architecture, technology, and human thought being biologically linked and that the link might be constituted through some undiscovered properties that can be outlined and hybridized as an architectural metaphysics conceptualized with the aid of Leibniz’s theory of monads, which provides a unit of universal perception and mirroring knowledge I yoke to Richard Dawkins’s theory of memes: ideas as live, contagious, transmissible units of perception, information, and culture that can be embedded in architecture. Dawkins’s memes provide a hypothetical agent of transmission akin to germ theory, at the same time that they suggest that thoughts and representations of thoughts as cultural units are infectious and potentially viral when seen in the light of genetic, cultural inheritance. Conceptually,

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the meme-monad begins to foreground a mechanism for transmission and implantation of cultural memory that, when contemplated in harmony with something like Luis Fernández-Galiano’s brilliant concept of architecture (Fire and Memory: On Architecture and Energy) as an entropic system (and therefore molecularly alive), further suggests architecture’s potential as a kind of intelligence or intelligence device. Listen to Fernández-Galiano: “The tenacious survival of urban schemes or building typologies, the rare consistency of some formal layouts, and the continued adherence to certain construction solutions are evidence of the existence of a morphological memory: a memory that does not rest only in the heads of builders, inhabitants, or spectators, but is present as well in the architecture itself.” Fernández-Galiano’s “morphological memory” is compatible with my use of meme-monad and clearly hints at “architecture itself” being infectious. What I’m driving at is that architecture deserves to be re-conceptualized in a biologic frame, not merely in a frame of materials, systems, and aesthetics. Through such a re-conceptualization, the notion of a botanic or biologic architecture will no longer seem marginal. In brief, architecture, reduced to the concept of a machine or object has lost biologic connections that once adhered it to us and to nature as closely as shells, dens, nests, and boroughs to the species that respectively inhabited them. This current architectural disconnect fosters a false sense of humans as species-independent from our building and environment. In fact, architecture is part of an ecosystem and, more specifically, is a symbiotic growth dependent on human intelligence and

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Digital-Botanic Architecture

muscle (or its mechanical replacement). To use another of Dawkins’s phrases, architecture is an “extended phenotype,” which can be explained by Matt Ridley’s words: “The nest of a bird is just as much a product of its genes as its wings are.” In this conceptual frame, architecture can be seen as evolving biologically (at least mimetically) as we evolve. Even before Semper’s thesis, architecture had been divorced from the notion of an organism. I’m not saying that it stopped evolving mechanically or aesthetically, but that the practice of making buildings has not kept pace with other cultural evolution— specifically, capitalistic and scientific evolution. Simply stated, humans make buildings (our nests) and animate them with mechanical systems and think of them as real estate; yet slowly, as we evolve wetware and software with the capacity to think, we can contemplate a sentient or semi-sentient, self-assembling architecture, we can also contemplate infusing our skyscraper nests with the potential for thought or responsive environmental intelligence. Equally slowly, but more and more conceivable as our mechanical systems come to function like and resemble biological organisms, we can begin to appreciate architecture as more than materially entropic, looking instead to architecture as systems entropic, and seeing in the systems’ interdependent workings relationships similar to those we see in organic nature, say in an air-cooled termite tower. Though I don’t want to over stress a realm of science fiction (SF), I would like to remind readers of the scant public imaging of advanced architecture with this exceptional passage from William Gibson’s Idoru:

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“You mean the nanotech buildings? . . . virtually had failed to convey the peculiarity of their apparent texture, a streamline organicism. . . . the entire façade of one of the new buildings seemed to ripple, to crawl slightly. . . . they slid apart, deliquesced, and trickled away, down into the mazes of an older city.” Clearly, a seed of biological/ computationl architecture growing in the dark of Tokyo nights filters into popular culture through Gibson’s novel. So, growth of structures is not a totally foreign notion for general contemplation. While I have a more specific agenda in this book for discussing some emerging ideas of growing and evolving architecture, the preceding gives a wide frame within which a digital-botanic architecture might fit. Most of what follows will have a conceptual, sympathetic, or direct residence within that frame. III As the 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century morphological study of plants evolved along with the technology of the microscope’s improving optics, studies that ultimately emerged as botany, modern biology, and microbiology, so too, these same sciences continue to evolve in the 20th and 21st centuries, radically transformed by quantum mechanics and the discovery of DNA/RNA. Each successive technological development in this historical progress yielded science a deeper view into the process of living organisms and each introduced a new direction and a wider conceptualization of botanic and biological life that led, only recently, to the idea of biological products and genetic manufacturing determined, not by evolution, but by laboratory

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manufacturing and boardroom decisions. The concept of cellular development now includes the concept of cellular redevelopment and creative mutation. Yet, such scientific transformations are not limited to the world of science, they are rippling through the art world and popular media, creating and affecting the way we think about nature and the way we produce culture. If man’s phenomenal success in colonizing all parts of the globe is specifically owing to technology—sanitary/health, heating/cooling, and transportation systems, etc.—then it makes at least partial sense to look to technology for evolving and correcting the seemingly uncorrectable mess that success has caused. In a sense, to regrow or overgrow development. The experiments and ideas represented in the following projects link design-growth experimentation through computing, technology and, to some extent, science—specifically, an aesthetic and structural “botanic-mimetic” linking, not only in aesthetic theory, but also, speculatively, in new technological and biotechnical materials, assembly process, and product manufacturing. Furthermore, biomimetics, the scientific method of studying, for example, plants, animals, minerals, shells, etc., for an understanding of a specific quality—hardness, softness, reflectivity, selfassembly, etc.—that can then be applied to industrial and design production, applies directly to architecture and technology by teaching us how to look to plants (and nature in general) in order to extrapolate a desirable quality; then, how to use technology in order to realize that extrapolated property in another form, scale, and/or material. Possibly, a digital-botanic architecture may

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emerge, first, as a series of biomaterials before those materials are synthesized as a building life-system. Importantly, biomimetic investigation can be used to produce architectural and design prototypes where morphological qualities of a plant, say leaf overlap, or asymmetric harmonic proportion (Fibonacci phyllotaxis) can be applied to the shape and function of potential architectural structures and surfaces while maintaining a linked consideration of the new material properties intended to bring the structure into being as a bioanimate environmental participant and sensor. Paralleling and sometimes intersecting this view to botany and technology as sources of potential architecture stands computationally grown architecture, which translates information through a coding process into potentially habitable spaces by means of genetic algorithms, cellular automata, and/or artificial intelligence—all potentially realized through CAD/ CAM production or, eventually, nanotechnology. In what is becoming known as genetic or evolutionary architecture, this process of design results in a formerly almost unthinkable quality for architecture (but an indispensable quality for biologic life): self-replication and the ability to evolve. Pioneers like John Frazer continue to lead research into evolutionary systems and generation, and while genetic/evolutionary architecture (like Gibson’s nanobuildings) seemingly has the ring of SF, it has moved beyond dreams and at this moment is slowly creating virtual models and being theoretically articulated so that resulting structures, spaces, and prototypes are as much a matter of time and financial support as technological advancements—more a question of when, not if. So while

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Digital-Botanic Architecture

Xfrog truss-frame grown from a tree (top left) to study possible structural articulations for a building frame and columns, 2004.

many aspects of a digital-botanic and/or a computationally generated architecture remain theoretical today, there is no reason to doubt that future technologies will grow living cells (silicon and carbon) that can be directed by genetic architectural programming. Given such a scenario, one will see the melding of inorganic computation with organic life, resolving and producing a new vision of habitable space.

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Xfrog grown digital seed with transparent hull based on Sullivan’s A System of Architectural Ornament.

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Seeding a Digital-Botanic Architecture We must be clear that, when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. Niels Bohr Louis Sullivan’s A System of Architectural Ornament is analog, transcendentally poetic, quasi-scientific, and ornamental. His System establishes a series of steps, a recipe and formula—loosely, an algorithm—for the generation of geometric surface volumes and plant-like growth as an initial push toward design development and, maybe, a seed of botanic architecture. After evolving geometries or, as Sullivan says, the “development of a blank block through a series of mechanical manipulations,” he begins to outline a progression of physical and metaphorical steps that lead toward the growth of ornamental botanic life invading the “blank block.” Discussing the first seven sketches for his Plate 2, Manipulation of the Organic (pp. 8-9), he states: “Any of these forms may be changed into any of the others through a series of systematic organic changes technically known as ‘morphology’.” Sullivan articulates his experiments in an attempt to develop his thesis into a hybrid textual/graphic hypothesis, suggesting that for him architectural form has inherent “organic” real life, not merely metaphoric or ornamental suggestion. He had, in fact, already laid groundwork for such suggestion when he began the System with a little sketch of a germinating seed followed by this text:

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Top: TumbleTruss Project Lexicon, 1995-ongoing. Observational biomimetics leading to physical and digital models, then to Xfrog digitally grown elements. Bottom: 2004, Xfrog grown structural truss based on Lexicon’s physical TumbleTruss model seen above in row 3.

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Above is drawn a diagram of a typical seed with two cotyledons. The cotyledons are specialized rudimentary leaves containing a supply of nourishment sufficient for the initial stage of the development of the germ. The Germ is the real thing; the seat of identity. Within its delicate mechanism lies the will to power: the function which is to seek and eventually to find its full expression in form. The seat of power and the will to live constitute the simple working idea upon which all that follows is based—as to efflorescence In this transcendental text, Sullivan establishes growth, change, mutation, and “will to power” as his Nietzscheian, transformative criteria for the development of architectural thought, which he then applies to ornament and we, by extrapolation, may apply to architectural production. The seed or “seat” of future identity/form that he first develops in his graphic theory is literally a polyline, a drawing of a graphic cell and then a series of polylines or cells containing and expressing

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instructions—much simpler but metaphorically similar to a gene’s encapsulation of biological instructions. If we express his instructions through poetic transliteration and interpretation as new codes, they can power, in Sullivan’s terms, impulse, growth, and creativity in digital software. Now, such instructions may be read as metaphorical equivalents of protein instruction or, more prosaically, elements of a grammar and may then be translated, rewritten, edited, and/or regrown in digital realms, in cellular automata, in artificial life, and in algorithmic and textual programming. Sullivan’s choice of efflorescence, his code word for a process of life and growth, instills botanic transformation in both a physical and metaphorical sense, while, in sum, the iconic drawing of a seed with two cotyledons (dicotyledon) plus his brief text (p. 21) leave no doubt that he intended to create a transforming, botanically-based growth system expressed in graphic icons and supplemented with text— a grammar and lexicon with instructions—a system’s code. Sullivan created a series of poetic, graphic/text algorithms constituting his metaphoric design, which he had previously used in buildings, then redirected as drawn ornament whose imbedded code sprouted his System; that system is now capable of sprouting, inspiring, digital growth. A botanic underpinning established, Sullivan then set out to describe and illustrate how growth and generation may be applied to architectural design through the development of a series of cellular drawings (genotypes), each linked to the preceding and each leading to the next (top, pp. 8-9)—a visual progression developing his geometric and botanic lexicon into a transformative

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evolutionary process that could be artistically determined and transformed while autonomously efflorescing— living—, flowering through his will to power expressed as an architecturally extended phenotype. Furthermore, the three dicotyledon paragraphs (p. 21) hint (the completed System vindicates) that form follows function, was, in Sullivan’s 1924 organic theory, still a living, progressive principle by which the process of design links botanic as well as biologic life with geometry (not merely reductive, spatially programmatic requirements, such as a floor plans). With these observations in mind and crossfertilizing them with the notion that Sullivan’s ideas are alive, transmitted through meme-monad compounds, I am growing new ideas that lead to designs and forms. In a sense I have entered into a one-sided collaboration with idea-seeds (meme-monads) embedded in Sullivan’s physical and theoretical work that is, to an extent, infected by Semper’s thoughts about architectural origins in organic craft and botanic materials. These reconstituted ideas are in turn organized and interpreted through mechanisms postulated by Leibniz and Dawkins, which, when joined, in my view, constitute a new metaphysical strain of information transference by meme-monad, making Sullivan-Semper ideas available for a kind of opportunistic, infectious, genetic-idea mutation—a benign idea-virus. The infectious nature of memes has allowed the replication and the transmission of Sullivanesque ideas, while the quantum-scale qualities of universal perception and mirroring found in monads has kept them conceptually and environmentally clear and available.

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Xfrog growth stage #1 with pod dispersion; inspired by Sullivan’s A System of Architectural Ornament and his Merchant’s National Bank, Grinnell, Iowa (facade top left). Right: Xfrog growth stage #3 developed as a tall building; inspired by Sullivan’s A System of Architectural Ornament and his Merchant’s National Bank, Grinnell, Iowa.

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Sullivan, the architect-pioneer of the skyscraper as well as the transcendental architectural theorist/poet, found inspiration in cell morphology, plant and human anatomy, engineering, and science, and he might not protest the inspiration he has sparked in the digital architecture seen here. Listen to what he said in 1887: “ . . . architecture will be the emanation of what is going on inside of us at present, the character and quality of our thoughts and our observations, and above all, our reflections.” Nor might he protest his being associated with the experimental use of software intended more for pastoral 3D generation of natural forms, such as oak trees, than as a tool for investigating architectural space based on botanic growth. While almost any example of Sullivan’s ornament provides a reading of geometry overgrown with vegetation, his late works more intensely, more baroquely, provide a retrospective 3D reading of physical forms, which in conjunction with the System, illustrates how radical Sullivan’s work was and is. The late banks, especially, may be seen as analog, proto-generators for digital-botanic architecture. In a sense, they are built drawings whose ornament is metaphorically fractal of Sullivan’s theoretical and graphic work, re-realized a few years later in the System and re-realized again seventyplus years further on in virtual space and CAD/CAM production. Today we can still see and think of segments of the System as germinators whose genetic expression reached one threshold in Sullivan’s lifetime and whose unexpressed potential, like that in DNA, may continue to reveal itself in future growth and morphosis. Sullivan’s System knots a developmental thread for articulating

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static graphics as dynamic, serial genotypes that then articulate forms found in natural systems capable of being woven as experimental, structurally generated, extended phenotypes. Beyond the craft metaphor employed by Semper, I think we must acknowledge that Sullivan’s weaving would integrate the loom with the warp and weft. His threading vines curved from warp to weft infected his geometry and botanically colonized his architecture, blurring and conjoining cage-structure (the loom), walls and ornament (the thread and fabric) as a plant architecture.

Case Study I While lecturing at Iowa State University in 2002, I took a side trip to visit the farm town of Grinnell, where Sullivan’s 1914 Merchant’s National Bank stands efflorescent and in excellent, healthy condition. For my purposes here, the bank need only be considered, in Sullivan’s terms, as a rectangular “blank block” whose oculus (rose window) and entrance fuse in a terra-cotta growth of geometry and vines and pods that host Sullivan’s ideas as articulately as paper does his drawing. Looking at the main façade’s nested expansion of geometries simultaneously colonized with plant growth, I saw the potential for a digital graft (p. 24). Thinking of a phototropic shift from vertical Z axis to the horizontal X-Y, I visualized horizontal growth from exterior to interior, with the vertical façade ornament seeding the horizontal push into the bank’s interior

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that would morphologically transform the A System of Architectural Ornament into a system of architectural structure. The new growth visualized as an interior, 3D armature demonstrates my first step: I was not thinking of habitable spaces or even scales compatible with the bank but of plantlike growth creating a structural armature whose branches, stems, buds, and pods mark spatial nodes where a potentially habitable space might later effloresce. I was thinking of reanimating Sullivan’s late work and lexicon by graft-hybridization with new digital slips, regrowing one or two aspects of Sullivan’s System, taking his ornament and further applying some of his rules in order to generate new structural spaces sprouted in Xfrog and articulated in Rhino. Using digital methods to hybridize Sullivan’s ideas with botanic observations from my TumbleTruss Project (p. 20), I have, for example, determined symmetrical points in the bank’s terra-cotta ornament from which to begin sprouting Xfrog drawing/forms (top left, p. 24). And, in order to initially respect Sullivan’s symmetry, the first segment of this digital growth is strictly balanced: a series of interlacing loops or tendrils creates a symmetrical, knot-like design lifting out of the façade toward the street, adding a decorative braided coil to the facade before twisting back through the rose window and into the interior in order to grow structure (p. 38). Once forms are sprouted, I have tried to loosely conform and apply biomimetic tumbleweed observations to Xfrog’s controls—rotation, twist, screw, transformation, phototropism, curvature, etc.—before implementing Rhino modifications. Moving ideas appropriated from Sullivan into

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software extends their capacity for generating new work while growing new ideas for me. Attaching his System digitally to his own design experimentally generates new works but does not claim that I generate Sullivan works. Nor, in experimenting with one of his architectural masterpieces am I suggesting that such a manipulation ever take place—no—; rather, that as I stood in front of the bank a certain artistic impulse suggested his ornament as the generator of other forms; and consequently I employed the site as an initial seed-bed for an experiment that has grown ideas and led to the generation of drawings and models—but this experimentation is conceptual, never intended as an intrusion, not even hypothetically, upon a historic monument. Case Study II Following the bank study, two specific questions seemed apparent. First, could the seed pods found in so much of Sullivan’s work influence habitable space and be grown into nesting geometries or crystalline growths as potential massing for architectural units (offices, houses, etc.)? Second, how could such growths be structurally supported within a branching or vining growth system? In essence, how could I cradle pod (room) growths within an armature, while still keeping all original generation in Xfrog (p. 89). These question resulted in a study using Xfrog files exported into Rhino and 3d Studio MAX for rendering followed, by further export to a Thermojet Solid Object Printer (p. 32). The specific relationship to the organic growth from the bank lies in Xfrog design origins plotted from

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the bank’s ornamental facade. In the armature grown from the façade (p. 38) the branches are smooth and undulating but the knot of spidery legs are radically bent at the joint nodes to make sharp angles, forcing the armature to grow into itself before meeting the ground—here again, a sort of fold-link to Semper’s knots and weaving. And, like the pod growths in the bank’s structure, the nesting geometries are sequenced in relation to the legs, but the sequencing converges and the pods have extremely restricted geometries, so that crystal-like solids form, not spheres. The morphological concern bonds Semper and Sullivan. In addition to articulating weaving as wall production Semper clearly saw the frame that supported the wall as an open armature in much the same way Sullivan saw the geometric foundation of his System (and the cage frames of his skyscrapers). In essence Sullivan achieved a synthesis in his building very close to Semper’s theory and much closer than Semper himself ever realized in a built work of architecture. Sullivan achieved in various buildings a cellular, modular lattice structure and enclosed that frame with modular panels— often terra-cotta facades hung (metaphorically knotted) on the frames, whose ornament depicted the weavings of nature and geometry. My morphing of Semper/Sullivan meme-monads suggests an axiom for digital-botanic architecture: growth of a structure requires the weaving of potential-space nodes into and along with inherent, regular branching potential in every segment of the architectural growth unit. As in a plant, each potential branch is not necessarily developed/expressed, nor is every flower transformed into a seed pod, yet such

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potential exists within the plant’s cellular biology so, then, could the potential for the expression of a digitalbotanic architecture exist within design. Further, digitalbotanic architecture can hybridize and mutate faster than nature—at the same time that parts of a structure remain dormant, other parts can effloresce—yielding the potential for irregular and asymmetric branching and spatial-node growth developing in a manner where structure, services, and space could be expressed in architecture as a biomimetic homage to flower, leaf, and seed pod. Case Study III Following the lessons of Sullivan’s System but moving away from digital mimesis, this project segment looks to generate a growth that could, in itself, become a basic design element like one of Sullivan’s underlying blocks. A tree and a leaf was grown in Xfrog. The tree was begun as a dual-rooted trunk, and then inverted to transform the roots into branches (pp. 4 & 33). Several considerations came into play while I was growing the tree: 1) at that moment I was studying Gothic windows in Barcelona and wanted the branches of the tree to have a changing profile like those in Gothic tracery and arches—a kind of sub-meme of Gothic to Sullivan; 2) I wanted the tree to work structurally in two directions; and, 3) I wanted the tree to work as branches only (without the trunk.) My resulting tree can be seen as a lexical object in the STL models built by Laser Reproductions and from them one can follow several hypothetical projects (p. 33): 1) beach canopy; 2) massive, central, structural armature from

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Xfrog leaves and branches grown into a prismatic, pod cluster then nested in a geometric, leg-like construction. Bottom: Digital file printed as a 3D Thermojet model. See digital-botanic print, p. 89.

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Xfrog grown tree-column. From top to bottom: Barcelona Canopy and Thermojet model; Xfrog growth and STL models; STL tree branches supporting leaf-grown floors. See digital-botanic print: p. 4.

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which floors are sprouted as leaves and then developed in Rhino as solids; and 3) the tree and branches as a repeatable architectural and sculptural element able to create different profiles determined only by rotation (p. 4). Case Study IV I next experimented, after the development of podspaces and the tree-column, with digitally growing a leaf that could be articulated and multiplied for a canopy or roof; additionally, it could potentially join the treecolumn as an object within a grown design lexicon. The initial impulse for this project came from an intended collaboration with the Barcelona-based architect Ignasi PÊrez Arnal on a competition entry for a civic project in Pontecagnano (pp. 40-41) and later as an independent monocoque (p. 43). While our collaboration did not move beyond primary stages because of time and distance, I held onto an aspect of the competition brief in order to independently develop a large plaza canopy and worked to generate a repeating leaf system as a firstphase proposal. I literally grew a three-leafed Xfrog plant of no particular genus but with vague similarities to a tobacco leaf (the buildings surrounding the plaza space had once stored tobacco from the Americas)—and later developed it into an abstracted penstemon (Penstemon palmeri). After attempting some preliminary siting of the entire plant as a modular sculptural canopy, I decided that the plant canopy was not interesting and separated a single leaf from the stalk and started to develop it as an independent and then a mirrored or arrayed unit. My idea was that a very large, lightweight canopy could be

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Monocoque Canopies, 2003. Tumbleweed constructed trussframe with sprayed pulpcrete (paper pulp and cement or adobe) skin.

built like an airplane wing, a monocoque (above), with integral skin and structure—something I have been working on over the last few years in analog models for outdoor canopies in New Mexico. The individual leaf-like canopy could then be a repeated module in an irregular truss construction. While the production of the canopy monocoques could be achieved with a number of advanced production methods using new plastics, resins, metals, or composites, a surprise was emerging in the initial renderings: even if production could make a cohesive structural and material unit, renderings were giving two completely different visual accounts of the project. From some vantage points, the canopy complex looked like the wings of a bird in flight—or like the sculptural study of flight by Etienne-Jules Marey—

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yet from several other perspectives the elevation looked like the ruffled botanic constructions of the penstemon. One view was rhythmic, even with asymmetrical scale changes; the other bilaterally symmetrical but craggy, almost like an enlarged view of a plant or even an insect (pp. 40-41). I liked this duality and tried to intensify it, thinking such perspectival changes very much like those found in a garden. The Hypothesis In the merger of botanic and digital production I am discovering potentials inherent in software such as Xfrog when hybridized with other software such as Rhino or Maya, etc. In such hybridized cases, digitally realized volumes mimic or simulate organic growth; or, more interestingly, make possible the application of growth simulation for volumetric shapes, and these grown shapes can then be engineered and detailed as architecture. Imbedded through this simulation of growth is cognitive and biological learning—growth of my thoughts manifesting themselves in the resulting sculptural and architectural production, but also in writing, conversation, and teaching. While I rely on metaphor, I also trust that my hypothesis of growing forms and geometries from System-seeds, combined with information applied from botanical observation and earlier TumbleTruss Project experiments (p. 20), crossfertilized by the theoretical medium of meme-monad, illustrates how Sullivan’s work infects mine, and mine, perhaps, might infect others with mimetic ideas leading to a genetic growth process for digital architecture. Here, we could briefly consider Matt Ridley’s saying:

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“The gene specifies how development occurs, and that in turn specifies how behavior occurs. The spooky truth is dawning on scientists that they can regard behavior as just an extreme from of development.” I choose to attempt this growth process with observational, biomimetic botany. Yet the process is as fully open to other visualization methods or information patterns where software integrates and fuses botanic information with geometry—growing geometrics in place of branches, but able to algorithmically establish sub-branching, budding, and flowering; for example, in simulated architectural growth. Such procedures, I think, establish the claim that Sullivan’s System harbors live, genetic information. If so, then his drawings (and many other drawings by implication) are the equivalent of Jurassic amber encasing DNA. So, if we entertain such a scenario, a mechanical reproduction, such as an edition of A System of Architectural Ornament, carries Sullivan’s genetic code-seed, implanted with his pencil in the original drawings, his genetic-graphic imprint, transported through space and time, into new designs where it confers powers of inheritance and morphing (in his sense and ours) to new work, while equally insuring offspring. I see this process as analogous to, or at least as an offshoot of, the concept that live, cultural units of transmissible information—meme-monads—can be carried through history and infect and/or bequeath, a gene-like system of cultural and physical transmission.

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Xfrog screen shots for growing new structure and spaces based on Sullivan’s A System of Architectural Ornament.

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Growing with Xfrog While Xfrog is not an architectural program, when used to express the idea of branching systems with connected geometries—an idea easily incorporated in building as systems and spaces—it becomes architecturally useful. And like Sullivan’s System, Xfrog begins to illustrate, by literally producing forms that may, with interpretative work, be grown over or into Platonic solids and thus be used to experiment with botanic-like elements that are woven into 3D architectural units. Using Xfrog is like using another type of loom for the weaving of an architectural fabric that has a direct relation to growth and Fibonacci phyllotaxis. To more fully understand what the software does technically, I asked Xfrog’s Stewart McSherry to answer some questions about the workings of the software in order to clarify its relation to other systems, specifically programming with L-systems. D.D. If I understand correctly, Xfrog is unique in that it is programmed with a combination of icon-based and algorithmically based controls. Is this correct? S.McS. Historically, so called L-systems were developed in an attempt to mathematically define how things branch. Aristid Lindenmayer’s approach was very formal and rigidly defined, and does not take into account such things as weather, complex wind dynamics, environmental factors, etc., because these are far beyond the ability of the system to simulate. We took a new direction, we studied trees for a long time and developed algorithms for branching, somewhat similar to L-systems but with

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Canopy for Pontecagnano, Sicily, 2003. Lower Left: Penstemon palmeri leaf model; Above, Xfrog grown model seen in Rhino. Right: First iteration of grown canopy as a site collage.

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some important new directions of our own that cover the basics—number of branches, how they grow, how they are affected by phototropism and gravitropism, etc. We then added a user interface, such that each parameter has a range of possibilities and the user has artistic control over the branching. This, at present, is the only method to get anywhere near a realistic branching (as humans we can perceive what the branching should look like much better than we can simulate it with pure mathematical systems). Our approach is technically known as a hybrid; we are grounded in formal mathematical algorithms controlled by a rich user interface and inputs to generate complexity based on natural rules. We also simulate several other natural processes other than branching, the most important being phyllotaxis. D.D. Does Xfrog algorithmically grow the plant parts after an icon is chosen? For example, when users change parameters for the icons, are they changing L-system algorithms? S.McS. Yes, all user parameters are able to be key framed over time. This means you can create an arbitrary model and change its parameters; for example, the growth parameter of the branch component and the part of the model that is using that will grow over time. You can define what type of growth and how fast, and all the parameters involved, i.e., does it spin, do more branches emit, is there phototropism which changes over time? From McSherry’s description, it is clear that Xfrog is generating partially from botanic principles and that the user may generate beautiful, life-like trees,

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Pontecagnano’s leaf canopy regrown and edited as an experimental monocoque based on the penstemon leaf (p. 40).

flowers, shrubs, etc., but the user may also read into the generating system other desires and direct Xfrog model growths toward a new system resembling Sullivan’s “blank block” where, in his words: “Any of these forms may be changed into any of the others through a series of systematic organic changes technically known as ‘morphology.’” We begin to see a direct relationship to Sullivan’s metaphysics but within a methodology of digital architectural generation that, in terms of software, becomes more interesting in light of Xfrog’s ability to also grow geometries, such as a box, sphere, torus, cone, etc.—essentially growing hybrid botanic-geometric 3D files. And, while such geometries can clearly and intentionally be modified into plant parts, they can also be directed to grow architecturally, a potentiality we will see experimented with in Duncan Brown’s work.

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Duncan Brown

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Duncan Brown. 2003. XFrog growths inported into Unreal Tournament. Left, xf0906; Top, xf0901; Bottom, xf0904.

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Growing Game Space One of the many metaphysical curiosities of digital space is a surface’s ability to have material qualities on one side but, effectually, not to have a reverse side (unless specifically programmed to render or display “two sides”). A virtual form, say a wall, can be paneled in virtual oak when seen from one direction, while the wall remains invisible from the opposite direction. This onesidedness suggests, among other things, that if such a surface is endowed with an artificial intelligence to sense environmental conditions or the location from which it is being viewed, one could prototype a cybermimetic extrapolation of virtual qualities for duty in the real world—the wall would perceive where it is being viewed from and determine existence (visibility, etc.) based on its own perception. Thus the one-sided surface could present a model for a type of physicality that doesn’t yet exist but that is conceivable as an analogous step from biomimetic to cybermimetic design—integrating, for example, bioluminescence, biotransparency, and biodurability as characteristics of materiality. Technically, the process of switching visibility from a side’s virtual form is called reverse normals. (Points within the digital constructions are called surface normals.) Such a process holds some important suggestions for building. Embedding architectural surfaces with intelligence is only emerging in the analog world, but it has long existed in virtual game space where, even when the architecture of digital games— castles, battlefields, deep space, etc.—is dismissible fantasy, the level of technical sophistication can be very

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high—enviably high for architects. A virtual surface in game space may be seen as portending something between an analog wall and a biological skin. No game yet models a world in which the virtual-architectural wall could function like a leaf for photosynthesis as well as for moisture/temperature transpiration; or, like a plant’s stem, for transporting water while simultaneously functioning like a crystal for transparency and hardness while again simultaneously functioning like an electronic receiver, processor, transmitter. Still, part of looking for a digital-botanic architecture encompasses such slightly over-the-top projections. Some of these qualities might first be grown in game space and in this sense, virtual game design may be seen as front-line research for architecture. I think it is important to point out that game space, as I am talking about it here, is exactly what you might at first think: the virtual screen-place where you play digital games like Quake or Unreal Tournament. In addition to being a billion-dollar industry, a testing ground for new technologies, and an engine driving software research and development, game design and publishing is an experiment within a virtual community and thus is a leading-edge industry, employing legions of designers and architects, testing the boundaries of real and virtual experience, and exploring ways that the two may be woven together. That shimmering cloth-weaving metaphor Byatt presented us with applies more brightly in digital game design than in any other architecturally related field. In addition, game design’s universe, in the context discussed here, should also be linked to its near cousins: environmental, scientific, military, and

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Duncan Brown. 2003. XFrog growths imported into Unreal Tournament. Left, xf1420; Top, xf1407; Bottom, xf1404.

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educational simulations and simulators. For over a decade, architect and game designer Duncan Brown has been building digital spaces that inhabit a hybrid, virtual ground, a place between digital and analog, arrived at through a specific evolving, generative process. His works are virtual constructions, often architectural and always implying architecture, and they are imbued with an intelligence carried over from their system of generation. Brown’s uncanny creations are not alive in any conventional sense, yet they carry a heritage of life, similar, perhaps, to crystals (as well as to some of the ideas, already discussed around Semper and Sullivan, involving heritability and evolution via mememonad transmission). If my earlier evocation of “cybermimetic” is not precisely apt for Brown’s work, which is more driven from the points of view of form, volume, color, space, itinerary, and their systematic generation than material research or biologic systems, his work has nevertheless long sprouted a tendril into an animate world fed by philosophy and theory as well as by the prosaic format of cellular comics, where he often places his works in order for them to tell their own life and evolutionary stories. Thus his interest in animation, arrived at not scientifically but technologically through film and print, may imply the need for viewers of his work to “reverse normals” on Brown’s entire output and recognize a transparency that ultimately reveals a force field of biologic life fused in an opaque, metaphoric layer within almost every project. His work holds a depth of real and implied extractability (generative systems, forms, etc.) moving in directions that ultimately depend on

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biological, artificial intelligence, and/or artificial life systems, so his generative work may be seen as protoanimate as well as architecture. Early on, Brown used a Cubist painting to extract a scalable typology of lines and planes lifted from a picture plane and reanimated in 3D space and hence suitable for digital operations such as Boolean additions/ subtractions, etc. In the process Brown created a generative architecture, a set of procedures by which he infused a new evolutionary life into both a 1914 painting (implied/ retrospatially) as well as into his emerging project called ZenLux (which resulted in various virtual and physical architectural projects). This reanimation (in the senses of both cartoon and biology) implicitly acknowledges the fact that the original painting, Breakfast by Juan Gris, held a force field (meme-monad) available for future development in much the same way as I have described for Sullivan’s System. An evolutionary force discovered in the painting propelled Brown through a series of methodical steps producing digital projects that make his work unique in architecture. While he eventually left architectural practice in order to become a level designer for LucusArts, Brown never eliminated the concept of architecture from his work. Now, in establishing his own practice in New York, he is both architect and level designer; his perspective fuses digital and analog architecture, filtered through virtual game design and simulation supported by his traditional architectural education. Because he has extrapolated and evolved new life from Breakfast and used it to seed new geometric constructions, I asked him to experiment with Xfrog and

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the idea of digital-botanic architecture for this book. In my view, Breakfast and the ZenLux projects evolved from it are inextricably linked as a force in Brown’s more recent projects, specifically his ongoing series called reVersed Normals (rVN). The momentum of his decade of research reveals an entropic program in which the energy of physical forms (the painting) transforms into the lower energy consumption of pixels, thus requiring fewer material resources (no paint, canvas, stretchers, etc.) while still maintaining enough energy for the eventual infusion of embedded artificial intelligence, environmental sensors, robotics, or biomimetic functionings that will lead to a new architecture. It is easy to see Brown’s architecture synthesizing the intelligence of digital games as well as projecting onto his work the potential of biomimetic and cybermimetic enhancements. I imagine (my fantasy) a future rVN that will be a softwaregrown, plant-like membrane, geometrically related to ZenLux and genetically implanted with intelligence and environmental life systems. As Brown’s digital and theoretical generation of forms continues to grow in and from rVN, we may look specifically to the hybridized insertion of his recent Xfrog growths as evolutionary forms and forces transplanted into his previously established design systems. In email conversation, Brown noted: “While not immediately appearing as part of a logical progression, unrelated to a Cubist painting and my generative strategies, Xfrog is certainly in line with my vision of an interface for formal generation. The Xfrog series stems from the conceptual development of rVN in the move to an increasingly algorithmic and procedurally generated

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digital environment.” Most of my emphasis on Xfrog has focused on its botanic generating abilities, but the software is equally strong at evolving geometries. In relation to Brown, it is ironic that in an informal email form him (not concerned with Xfrog or specifically with this publication), he mentioned a visit to the Smithsonian: “The geodes at the Natural History Museum were intense. Somehow, I hadn’t realized such spaces existed naturally, they tie right into rVN and level space for me.” More than coincidental, the analogy seems apt, not only for these pages, considering the interior and game spaces Brown has designed over the last decade but also for establishing a link with a morphology of crystal growth. The importance here lies not in making a superficial “organic” connection and pinning it to Brown’s not-atall organic work, but in discussing the spaces of his work as natural conditions evolving through geomorphic-like digital form and time in a process that can be carried over into architecture. The passage to architecture has been seen in other parts of this book as moving through plant biology, but Brown’s is a proposal for generation and growth akin to mineral and crystal morphogenesis, one that resonates between interconnected morphic fields of his splines and surfaces and ultimately synthesizes the geomorphic and the biologic as similar design evolutions even as it simultaneously anchors the virtual in a cycle of idea generation. Time’s component as an entropic factor (aging, material disintegration) can also be noted at this point since Breakfast took almost 100 years to manifest through Brown. Now his generative procedures may be considered in crystalline form even when that form is

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iterated in digital prodessing time. A geode grows from the inside of a hollow rock in a process of osmotic salt transpiration, with growth built-up and directed to the center. The process is extraordinary since it suggests that growth is taking place from the walls of the rock sphere, simultaneously in all directions from the interior surface of the 360 degree ball, a process that seems more suitable to a virtual world than a physical one. Such strange process is not without relevance to Brown’s Xfrog work, nor is it unrelated to rVN generation. In a sense a geode is a crystal grown in reverse (instead of growing out it grows in) and part of that schema can be followed here. While most of Brown’s Xfrog growths are not specifically grown from a sphere, they are grown from Xfrog’s menu of geometric forms. So when we look to project images such as xf0906, xf0901, and xf0904 (pp. 44-45), the geomorphic qualities of crystalline growth and iterated geometric primitives become apparent, an exterior of prismatic folds masks the crystalline growth inside. Yet, looking at original Xfrog growths, for example in xf1420, xf1407, and xf1404 (pp. 48-49) we can see that the process evolves more organically than at first appears. Xfrog has created central, prismatic shells sprouting branch-like growth tendrils in an atmosphere of zero gravity, and Brown has controlled the iterative geometries so that the Xfrog growths remain rooted in his generative systems; thus, a strange new zerotropic construction emerges—grown but not botanic. And while not directed to a center point as in a geode, the crystalline forms of the Xfrog growths still present a geode-like “natural” space inside.

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Duncan Brown. Xfrog screen shots.

Looking at a series of Brown’s screen growths prompts me to wonder if there isn’t a kind of architectural gardening that we are failing to register. I am not suggesting, nor was Brown attempting, architectural program as part of the project, so we must look to the screen growths as proto forms or architecture seeds. These geometries herald a different view of architectural generation and evolution and should be looked at in sequence with scientific diagrams for a validation of a life quality or for an aspect useful to defining another category of organic. Think of them in relation to a protein fold (a diagram of a protein fold being a drawing of a life force) and then go back to Deleuze’s descriptions of infinite folds in relation to Leibniz’s monads: monads as flocks of information infinitely processing within life forms. We can then begin to see in Brown’s Xfrog experiments, as well as in other projects discussed in these pages, a parallel universe of digital architectural growth and the emergence of biologic consequences

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in/on architecture—sometimes plant matter, sometimes mineral but all yielding new terms and ideas as architectural seeds. When I first opened the CD with Brown’s project and then opened the file containing all his Xfrog screen shots (p. 55), the file icons reminded me of those displays of garden seeds where you see packet after packet of annuals and perennials, vegetables and flowers, in vertical and horizontal rows, and I thought that a wonderful image for a digital-botanic architecture—seed packets, idea-seeds for architectural thought. What we can glean from Brown’s rVN/Xfrog seed packets is a strategy he synthesized from Breakfast, then used as a generating program. That program, then cross-bred with a plant generating software and used to grow geometries under digital-botanic/geological conditions, shows Brown developing a new way of growing architecture for game space—and by extrapolation a new physical architectue.

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SymbioticA

SymbioticA. Stem cell harvest from pig tissue and wing armature preparation.

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SymbioticA The idea of growing biological forms may be seductive but, practically, cultivating tissue and bone is extremely difficult: then, keeping grown tissue alive for extended periods of time compounds several factors of difficulty to the point of the seemingly impossible. For example, if you consider that when tissue is grown as human skin for medical grafting, the patient’s body is equipped to support the skin’s biological needs with delivery of oxygen and nutrients as well as removal of waste. The same is true for other medically grown organs: if they can be grown at all, they are intended to become part of a biologically existing system, so the problem of longterm bioreactors to keep them alive is not the issue it is in growing a semi-live art or architecture. Today, a biologically grown artwork intended to stay alive must be permanently and constantly maintained in a simulated biological environment. For this dependent situation to change, for the possibility of an autonomous grown work, enormous medical, scientific, and engineering strides must be made so that the work’s tissue can become part of a pre-existing life system. Still, the probability of this development occurring is high, even if its elaboration requires lengthy experiment. The Tissue Culture and Arts Project (TC&A) hosted by SymbioticA, the Art and Science Collaborative Research Laboratory­­ at the School of Anatomy and Human Biology, University of Western Facing page: SymbioticA. CAD drawings of pterodactyl and bat wings as armature designs for tissue growth.

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SymbioticA Above: Tissue seeding and growth. Right: Pig Wings. Seeded and grown tissue on armatures for pterodactyl, bat, and bird wings.

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Australia—accepts and engages the challenge. A look at the work the TC&A (founded by Oron Catts, who additionally, co-founded SymbioticA) has completed and are currently conducting literally shifts a cultural paradigm for the production of art, one that can, at least theoretically, be applied to the conceptualization of growing architecture. To date SymbioticA has undertaken several projects, all with some mimetic relevance to digitalbotanic architecture. The Pig Wings Project (collaborators Catts, Ionat Zurr, and Guy Ben-Ary) comes closest to modeling a biologically grown, prototypical architecture. Within a laboratory setting, three sets of armatures or scaffolds were drawn and built, roughly following the wing-shape of a bird, a bat, and a prehistoric pterodactyl (each approximately three centimeters long) thereby providing a structure over which to grow tissue in the controlled environment of a bioreactor. From the project’s title, expectations might lead one to think the wings would be big enough to loft a pig into space. Actually, the name comes from the use of living pig cells—as Catts indicated to me by email: “We were referring to the idea that when the impossible is possible, as some of the rhetoric surrounding new developments in biotech goes, pigs could fly.” Closer than pigs flying to the project’s underpinnings is this statement by Catts and Zurr from an article they published in Leonardo: “Our goal is to create a vision of a future where some objects are partly artificially constructed and partly grown/born in order to generate a debate about the directions in which biotech can take us.” Further, Catts stated in the New York Times: “These entities we create might become our naturalish

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companions, our machines, and even our dwellings.” While architectural research may not be a primary goal for The Tissue Culture & Arts Project, the inclusion of “dwelling” in the statement tacitly acknowledges architecture as potentially affected by this research. The success and beauty of Pig Wings, with its implications for biotechnology’s growing or partially growing structures, transforms the challenge of sustaining life outside the bioreactors from a purely scientific endeavor to one with cultural and aesthetic implications that can, for purposes here, be taken as design research with an architectural component. Many, if not all, the challenges to sustain mammal-tissue growth for art would exist for growth of mammal or plant tissue directed toward architectural experimentation. One particularly interesting crossover lies in live tissue’s need of services (nutrition/air/waste removal), an infrastructure also required of buildings. As something inherent both to mammals and plants, infrastructure, comprehended as a biomimetic challenge to design, grow, and sustain outside a bioreactor, could also be seen a major step toward modeling a living architecture. Analogous to the biological needs of nutrition/air/waste removal for living systems are building’s mechanical needs for power/air processing/ thermal controls; other environmental responses, such as transpiration and photosynthesis, have obvious biological-mechanical analogies to information and service flows in buildings, as do physical conduits such as veins, capillaries, phloem and xylem systems. All these systems link not only skeletal systems but also natural leaf and skin systems to new, perhaps grown,

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mechanical/organic systems needed for architecture. Fortunately, this research is appearing, not as corporate or military research, but in a forum of aesthetic and moral debate lead by artists such as Catts. Interestingly the Pig Wings artworks have design development and production in common with advanced architectural production, even when specific materials involved are differently specialized. In order to comprehend the process and to be cautious about my transfers between sculpture and architecture, I consulted Catts in what turned out to be an ongoing email interview, so I will directly braid his words into this text for maximum technical clarity. Since the underlying structure for Pig Wings was especially interesting to me in relation to architectural armatures, plant structures, and sculptural frames I asked Catts: Would it be correct to say that the scaffolds for Pig Wings were sculpted? Can you describe the process and material before being seeded? I designed them on a CAD program and then printed them using the Z-Corp 3D printer (p. 59). Even though they were not hand crafted I think it will be all right to refer to them as being sculpted. They were printed out using starch. I took silicon molds of these 3D printouts. I then filled the molds with glucose powder and poured in the dissolved polymer (5% P4HB in 95% acetone). Once the polymer was set I placed the wings in double distilled water to get the glucose to dissolve and leave pores the size of the glucose granules, and by that creating the polymer scaffolds in the shape of the wings. The polymer scaffolds were then dipped in gelatin-like material (extra

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cellular matrix) to promote cell attachment. Then we seeded them with cells. We experimented with two ways of getting the cells onto/into the scaffolds. The first was to grow a layer of the bone cells on a Petri dish and then lift it as a whole, wrapping it around the scaffold (that can be seen as a static method). The second way was to create a cell/media suspension and mix it with the scaffolds; for that we developed a system with Adam Zaretsky, which we called a dynamic seeding musical bioreactor. In Catt’s response we see the coming together of science, art, and structural generation in a process linking CAD visualization with rapid prototyping and leading to the critical phase where growth was attempted to skin or, more precisely, to cover the wing scaffolds with live tissue cultured from pig cells. As a technical note Catt’s pointed out: The tissue that we used for the pig wings came from a freshly killed animal (the animal was used for some other scientific experiment) [top, p. 57]. We used bone marrow stem cells taken from the knee of the pig. We used both mechanical and chemical techniques to isolate the appropriate cell type we were after. We then cultured and proliferated the cells until we had enough cells to work with. Reading these scientific descriptions, one recognizes the shift taking place in art and architecture: these procedures are at the service of both creativity and science. Here art doesn’t stand on singular artistic expression but as

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Newton said when asked about his vision: “If I saw farther it is because I stood on the shoulders of geniuses.” Collaboration between science and art is providing the TC&A with shoulders from which to project their artistic vision and perhaps genius. But that vision is constantly factored by what is scientifically possible—ironically even when they are pushing science itself. Therefore Catts is very clear that, in addition to generating art, they are generating research and dialogue. In dialogue, hard questions continually emerge; in relation to architecture, the most obvious, immediate, technical question being: could the now solid scaffolds be hollow? Since, if we are to look at Pig Wings as tiny buildings, they must have an interior: They can be hollow. Here it might be a good place to discuss the main limitation preventing the culture of large-scale constructs: the lack of internal plumbing. As there are no capillaries in the tissue-engineered scaffold we cannot grow thick constructs. We can theoretically grow huge hollow forms with very thin walls (as long as the nutrient solution can be in contact with both sides of the wall). To achieve that one will need to construct the lab equipment (from vessels to incubator and sterile hoods) especially for such an undertaking.  The proposition of keeping a membrane alive and responsive is daunting even at a small scale. Moving to an environmental scale, where a construct-life could be habitable, is only now (with work like SymbioticA’s) emerging from the confines of science fiction. Perhaps other hybrids are possible in the emerging techniques of

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nanobiology where cells of the living building would be cared for by nanotech constructs. Through the generated research of projects like the TC&A, art and architectural conceptualization and experimentation progress into realms of the living, and cellular growth and such research is relevant to digital-botanic architecture. Perhaps by speculation and further scientific visualization, a live building will be conceptualized with grown, imbedded internal plumbing or capillaries driven by cellular robots delivering services communicating with each other in the manner of neurological transmission.

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Biomimetic Bridge The past is never dead. It’s not even past. William Faulkner Much of the subtext in these pages supports, extrapolates from, or directly predicts scenarios for architectural life projected from botanic/biological systems and genetic codes reprocessed or revisualized through computational and digital technologies. This reprocessing links back to Semper’s ideas of weaving strength and shape from plants (botanic/genetic information in its fully expressed natural form). Yet scientific and mathematic weavings ignore other kinds of constructs (I’m specifically thinking of meme-monad here), often obscuring references to their genetic heritage that is further obscured by epistemological uncertainty as well as the transference of ideas among thinkers and among thinkers and things. If we return to the epigraph from Byatt/Sherrington, “The brain is an enchanted loom where millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern,” we can redeploy that metaphoric description here, since it uses both virtuality (dissolving pattern) and weaving; we can attempt to thread a virtual knot around some of the hybrid architecture and theory we have looked at. Yet, by suggesting a knot around ideas, I’m not suggesting that these ideas can be either tied-up or fully woven together, since I believe the architects and artists discussed are still working at a genetic level of conceptualization Facing page: Euplectella (sponge) as biomimetic, structural inspiration for the bridge spirals and railings.

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and experimentation where hybrid software, biological experimentation, and algorithmically grown forms are, in effect, abstract machines—expressions and computations of genetically shimmering ideas. In a sense much of the new architecture is building a new order of monads (universes) and at times it is difficult to know whether philosophical ideas/units are computational or physically real. Logically perhaps, the two may be inseparable. In response to this idea of toggling computation/philosophy we may listen to Marcos Novak’s words: “They are inseparable indeed. One drives the other, by intention and design. They check one another, in the way that Klee alludes to when he speaks of ‘the rigor that checks the intuition,’ but working in both directions. In other words, the making checks the thinking and the thinking checks the making.” The classic view of the Leibnizian monad (p. 94) is, briefly, that of a unit equivalent in scale to an atom that encompasses soul and knowledge; past, present, future; and, importantly, the ability to mirror—in a sense, a unit of universal intelligence/perception. Obviously, such a unit has not been discovered; but that lack is beside the point here. As philosophical axiom, unit, or particle, the reconceptualized monad is enormously useful in channeling our thinking beyond Cartesian and Newtonian boundaries into a genetic frame that opens possibilities for generating both biomimetic-computational design (as hypothesized by, for example, Novak, Frazer, Bernard Cache, or Karl Chu) and, later, numerically-assembled wet-life or semi-life that would demonstrate functions, biomimetically extractable, as architectural elements or as architectural builder/compliers.

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Novak, whose work is frequently seen in the pages of international journals and books should equally be known as a philosopher of digitally evolving culture as well as the architect of his own virtual and physical production. His voice often articulates theoretical bridges and constructions in his lectures, texts, and conversation, and early on, leading to papers in 1988/1989, he was considering digital processing as an evolutionary factor in architecture. In “Computational Composition in Architecture,” he expanded architectonics conceptually and generatively to what in a recent email he described as the linking of “artificial life (derived from Dawkins) to information theory (Shannon) via a notion of optimality (Pareto), associating beauty with high information content and using this as a ‘fitness function’ in the sense of Holland.” What Novak was and still is calling for is revolutionary—a mechanism by which to understand and define life as encompassing more than we have traditionally assigned to it, thus moving architectural thought toward embracing biological principles of manufacture and reproduction; for example in recent times, moving theoretical nanotechnology to its practical application in digital and physical construction and later in physical accretions. Included in his category of production development are such things as axioms, mathematical constructions, digital sculpture, activators, sensors, and types of cultural infrastructure; systems of information, thinking, and building as potential starting points for molecular construction, leading, perhaps eventually, to live or semi-live architecture. This path is forking but still guiding numerous thinkers over an evolutionary trail sequenced by past intellectual events

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Spiral Bridge, 2004. Dennis Dollens with Ignasi PĂŠrez Arnal. Collage of bridge on French Pyrenees site.

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that brought into play artificial life as plotted early on at the Santa Fe Institute, in Chomsky’s generative grammars, and in Conway’s cellular automata (among many other theories and discoveries). More recently, for example, experiments like those involving the manipulation of viral DNA that allowed virus to be harnessed as nanoassemblers for nanoelectronic manufacturing, point out new potential for material development and potential growth strategies for architecture. Such thinking is, in turn, illuminated in Bernard Cache’s words: “New forms of architecture will not emerge as a result of the effects achieved by even more pliant, fluid, complex, and heterogeneous shapes or architectural forms, but rather with the development of more pliant, complex, and heterogeneous forms of architectural practice.” The abstract machine is central to computational and genetic architecture and derives from Alan Turing’s mathematical experiments underpinning modern computing. In relation to digital production, the abstract machine (conceptually programmed for architecture) is a variant of the Universal Turing Machine—a theoretical construct which demonstrated that a machine could perform any computable function. For our consideration here, it is important to point out, such functions include simulating nature—and, in fact Turing worked on plant phyllotaxis. So from a purely theoretical “machine,” an order of thinking has evolved that has engendered further thought and experimentation that is leading to grown digital forms and is beginning to emerge as physical growth as we have witnessed with examples from SymbioticA and even more recently from Angela Belcher’s viral material assembler research at MIT.

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The conceptual and foundational impact of Sullivan, but far more importantly of Turing’s work, cannot be underestimated in today’s digital world. Turing, beyond his paper, “Computable Numbers,” was instrumental in code breaking, AI, and, toward the end of his life, biologic, plant morphology—all topics that factor into advanced digital architecture and that we not only see but begin to experience in new generations of student’s thinking for physical and virtual environments. The abstract machine of Turing’s time assisted in the theoretical foundations of digital space that is now employed and poised to help produce nanogeneration and biomimetic processes for application in building. At the same time, the abstract machine is conceptual and continually reprogrammed for new processing—it’s evolving. Additionally, the abstract machine having itself become a computational factor in universal perception/ thinking and hence closely mirrored in the monad (as I reconfigure it with analogies from quantum mechanics), essentially becomes a benign viral-like transmission expressed most closely, if still inadequately, in Dawkin’s meme. In preparation for this chapter, suggesting Turing’s relation with digital-botanic architecture, I contacted Turing’s biographer, Andrew Hodges, with this question: “Do you think Turing was on a similar path to generative botanic systems reached years later by Aristid Lindenmayer in his L-systems?” This question arose out of various testimonials to Turing’s serious exploration of Fibonacci phyllotaxis at the time of his death in 1954, as well as from his documented running of computational experiments from his botanic observations on computers

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in Manchester. Hodges’s reply redirected me to Jonathan Swinton. After my explaining that I was thinking of positioning Turing as a patron saint of digital-botanic architecture and then repeating my question concerning Turing and the trail of computational botany in relation to L-systems, Swinton responded: “I think the narrow academic answer to your question would have to be no. There’s no trace of anything that you could line up side by side with an L-system tree . . . But, I am no longer a narrow academic, and I think that in a broader sense the answer is yes, Turing was working on explaining biological architecture in terms of repeated applications of simple processes. He didn’t get very far with it, but he was working on the right lines, in the sense that modern explanations for Fibonacci structures independently use similar kinds of explanations.” While meme, monad, phyllotaxis—Dawkins, Leibniz, Turing—may seem far from digital architectural production, they are closer than is first apparent. If these terms and names are not specifically choices of the designers and scientists discussed here, they can still serve to model a conceptual foundation that continues to pioneer both a theory and the building of cyberspace. Dawkins, Leibniz, and Turing are part of a mycorhizal landscape. Their work, established as foundational, may now also be speculated on, from, and within this landscape. Design experimentation reproduced here may be seen as historic at the same time that it is experimentally employed for pushing existing growth systems. Facing page: Carotid Spirals, 2004. Generated by Paul Bourke for post Spiral Bridge structural studies (pp. 72-73).

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The code for growing biological forms is, or is often based on, L-systems. The expression of L-systems is botanic since Lindenmayer’s intention was to create a code of factorable algorithms that could mimic/ simulate botanic branching and botanic expression in a manner known as rewriting systems. Thus, the expression of early, as well as current, digitally grown work from such a system and theory brings us close to one of the diverging paths leading to digital-botanic or genetic architecture. And that path points to projects with surprising resemblances to biological expressions manifested as hybrid worlds where botanic-like individuation of stalk, stem, leaf, bud, flower, roots, etc. are digitally regrown—reimaged—as architecture, sculpture, art. Expression of living botanic qualities simultaneously loop back to the designer’s position of a monad generator/receptor, so I speculate that a quantum universe is mirroring infectious-like transmission of ideas. Such demonstrations from physical projects equate to a type of abstract machine processing, potentially realized in both virtual (mathematical) and physical (buildable) worlds, suggesting that we must reconfigure our notions of architectural universe, dimension, and production even as the monad is transformed from Leibniz’s strict point of view. To invoke Sullivan once again, we can see that digitally growing architecture is an effloration of biological thought and computational genetics becoming, through biotechnology or nanoengineering, genetic architecture. Mirroring Sullivan, L-systems, and Xfrog for another moment, I want to turn to a project that I have grown in Xfrog that illustrates a single strand

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Bridge Study #4, 2004. Generated by growing a tree in Xfrog and using the manipulated leaves as in a cylindrical house-of-cards.

in the highly complex weaves of potential working methods. It is grown/designed as a tree trunk, branches and highly manipulated leaves and is intended to be a small footbridge. After generating the abstract tree, I threw away the trunk and branches, revealing only an interlinking system of leaves. The leaves are intended to notch together like a house-of-cards; creating a tubular structural system that could support a walking deck and handrails (above). As is apparent from the illustrations, this design project has not been articulated beyond the initial growing and digital file movement from Xfrog into Rhino, but it serves, with only three screen-shots from the software, as a basic illustration of the process I’m working on. The leaf bridge is one of many ideas I have

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explored in collaboration with Ignasi Pérez Arnal. Over the last four years we have taught together in the Genetic Architectures department at the Universitat International de Catalunya. Much of our focus revolved around natural and digital environments to the extent that we had several investigations underway. Joining two of these biomimetic investigations—both involving spirals—we decided on a bridge design different from the above-mentioned leaf bridge. The chosen design partly resulted from the study of spiraling seedpods falling and flying off the Tipuana tipu, a tree common to the streets of Barcelona. The wing-like seedpod gave me a lexicon of differing spirals, depending on the wind conditions in which they flew or fell (p. 81). With these spirals, and then looking to the geometries in the structural, siliceous skeletal lattice of the deep-sea sponge Euplectella aspergillum (p. 69), I drew in Rhino a series of different, intersecting structural spirals. From these various experimental spiral combinations I designed a series of prototype bridge structures for a site in the French Pyrenees where Pérez Arnal had a commission (pp. 72-73). Once we had the basic structure I approached Paul Bourke, a physicist specializing in scientific visualization at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, to help us generate/grow alternative structures based on his work with fractals and Carotid-Kundalini functions. This was a sort of reverse engineering in order to know if the biomimetic visualization worked in Rhino for the bridge’s spirals could be achieved in digital generation. I had known Bourke’s work through his website postings of experimental fractal growth systems and later learned that he used advanced computational techniques to

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visualize information from space for his university’s department of astronomy. As the bridge’s design progressed, relying on the intersections of spirals for structural articulation, I remembered Bourke’s website and visited it looking for spiral generations. I found his carotid spirals closely related to the bridge’s spirals, and I asked him if they could be generalized three-dimensionally and exported to files readable by standard design software. He responded by generating the files and images seen here (p. 76). At the time of this writing we were in the middle stages of this spiral visualization and manipulation, searching to understand where the spirals intersected and how that could be translated into structural strength. Bourke’s work shows the ability to experimentally generate Observational biomimetics with Tipuana tipu leaf used in the Spiral Bridge (p. 72-73). Spiral traced but not physically realized in the leaf’s fall. Various other spirals determined by wind conditions result in differing information patterns.

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curves and fractal forms that can computationally enter into design production. As I have noted, Lindenmayer’s intention for L-systems was botanic and biological computer modeling, and one of the things I am attempting to demonstrate is that a new architectural visualization is possible in collaboration with scientific visualization. In this specific case, compared with Bourke’s work on visualizing deep space and phenomena such as black holes, what seems to us as complex architectural structure is quite straightforward to him. To further articulate the structure, and to more fully employ a biomimetic visualization for the bridge, I have generated a secondary structure through the spirals that mimics the Euplectella’s hexagonal lattice (p. 69). For this experiment, the design is limited to modeling/ growing deck rails within the spirals. In effect, these horizontal lattices, linked to the walkway, structurally stiffen the intersecting spirals, providing not only the means of safely traveling over the bridge but also providing an enhanced biomimetic relationship to the natural systems witnessed in the Euplectella and the flight pattern of the Tipuana tipu’s seedpod. Much of my discussion of botanic and digital growth as a model for architecture has spilled out of convenient categorization and infected (or has been infected by) more general biologic systems as well as by philosophy and theory. The discussion and speculation has, purposefully, been infected with contemplative refiguration in order to drive, or to try to wedge ideas into architecture in order to infect the dreary position where practice stands today: that architectural creation and thought are merely the result of an individual artist’s

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inspiration, unrelated to evolution, life, and nature. Implied in botanic architecture is digital visualization and quantum biology, and it is from the quantum universe, when questioned and researched from a perspective of architectural implication, that growing an architecture and endowing buildings with botanic functions will appear comprehensible. Such a discussion leads to consideration of today’s advanced materials and technologies as well as further speculations extrapolated from scientist’s claims, while simultaneously, the discussion more fully absorbs mirrored (refracted) information from the past. Listening to Einstein is heartrendingly revelatory for architectural theorists and designers, “For the creation of a theory—there must always be added a free invention of the human mind that attacks the heart of the matter”—speculation as part of scientific inquiry. Considering architecture as an extended phenotype focuses attention on one of the prime conceptual research sites for future architecture—a generative, entropic body/site/material relationship. Moving to dreams of quantum manufacturing and viral material assembly is projecting architecture to a growth-like process with a filter of computational and quantum systems informed by the designer’s thought process. Consequent data structures, theories, and emerging architecture could then be seen as genetic architectures and, therefore, contributing to an evolutionary heritage animating, conversing with, and directing a slice of today’s digital architectural life and, perhaps, creating tomorrow’s live architecture.

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Conclusion In discussing others’ work I want to stress that while I have sought discussion and direction from the architects and artists included here and while I have tried to accurately represent their thoughts as they relate to the quotations and illustrations reproduced here, I have done so through the intentional filter of this essay and my own research. For example, in the work of SymbioticA there was no obvious botanic component—and as a matter of fact there is no architectural component or, I should say, they stress none. Yet SymbioticA’s artistic and scientific accomplishments are intellectually compatible with architecture. What they have grown in a laboratory could be considered an architectural element. And, the process could be modified to produce a very small prototype of a living building. Further, to stress that there is no digital-botanic architectural hegemony, I would cite Karl Chu, one of the most theoretically advanced architects in terms of computational, genetic architecture. Chu and I taught at the same university in Barcelona, and I could not say that we often found ourselves in agreement on the subject of advanced architecture, yet I find his work profound, challenging, and beautiful. Chu’s computational generation of architecture—architecture that can reproduce itself through its genetic code of zeros and ones—reflects both aesthetics and intelligence. So, while Chu cannot be considered a digital-botanic architect, his work, like that of SymbioticA, is central to an emerging conversation around digital-botanic architecture and thus important to follow. In the same vein, Duncan Brown would not fit within the bounds of digital-botanic architecture.

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Yet aspects of his past work, especially that of digitally transforming (reanimating) a 1914 painting into a 3D system for generating space and architecture, coupled with his current professional development of video games (where not only the level design is digital architecture but where that digital architecture is “cellular alive” with artificial intelligence), convinced me that he might further morph his experience in order to tackle a digital-botanic commission stemming from his work. While Gottfried Semper may have been an unusual starting point for thinking about a digital-botanic architecture, it is his view of architecture, as developed from craft, and specifically his view of weaving as the ur-architectural form that set in motion my thinking of architectural elements translated across history as viral-like memes and quantum monads; and hence, as living, biological entities encapsulated molecularly as idea-seeds or sparks mutating as transmittable, living ideas—caught, passed on, and reaching across history as living ideas sometimes embedded in physical artifacts. Sympathy with Semper’s theory and its expandability (mutability/inheritability) is fully compatible with Sullivan’s late theoretical work and is in fact enhanced by A System of Architectural Ornament. Sullivan, more than any other early 20th-century thinker, established a system of architectural generation based on geometry overgrown with botanic life. Additionally, Sullivan’s System articulates a philosophy and method for growing architectural elements compatible with digital technology. From that System I extrapolate a hypothesis for my own work, and this hypothesis becomes the lens through which I see connections and relationships with other work.

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Bibliography Ball, Philip. Made to Measure: New Materials for the 21st Century. Princeton University Press, New York. 1999. Ball, Philip. The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature. Oxford University Press, New York. 1999. Bentley, Peter J. Digital Biology. Simon & Schuster, New York. 2001. Benyus, Janine M. Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Quill, New York. 1997. Bernhardt, Peter. The Rose’s Kiss: A Natural History of Flowers. University of Chicago, IL. 2002. Blackmore, Susan. The Meme Machine. Oxford University Press, New York. 1999. Blossfeldt, Karl. Working Collages. Schirmer/Mosel, Düsseldorf. 2001. Bourke, Paul. Fractals, Chaos Website: http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/ ~pbourke/fractals/ Brown, Stuart. Leibniz: Philosophers in Context. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. 1984. Brown, David E., Fox, Mindy., Pelletier, Mary Rickel. Sustainable Architecture: White Papers. Earth Pledge Foundation, New York. 2000. Brown, Duncan. Zenlux: Architecture and Electronics. SITES Books, Santa Fe, NM. 1996. Cache, Bernard. Boyman, Anne, Tr., Speaks, Michael, Ed. Earth Moves: The Furnishing of Territories. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 1995. Dagognet, François. Etienne-Jules Marey: A Passion for the Trace. Zone Books, New York. 1992. Dasgupta, Subrata. Technology and Creativity. Oxford University Press, New York. 1996. Deleuze, Gilles. Tom Conley, Tr. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MI. 1993. Dawkins, Richard. The Blind Watchmaker. W.W. Norton, New York. 1987. Dawkins, Richard. Climbing Mount Improbable. W.W. Norton, New York. 1996. Dawkins, Richard. The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene. Oxford University Press, New York. 1999 (Revised). Dawkins, Richard. The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press, New York. 1976/1989. Dollens, Dennis. D2A—Digital to Analog. SITES Books, Santa Fe, NM. 2001. Dollens, Dennis and Pérez Arnal, Ignasi, Eds. Genetic Architectures / Arquitecturas Genética. Universitat Internacional de Catalunya and SITES Books, Barcelona and Santa Fe, NM. 2003. Dollens, Dennis. Planella, Ana, Tr. El Proyecto TumbleTruss / The TumbleTruss Project. Galeria H20, Barcelona, Spain. 2000. Eisenberg, Anne. “What’s Next: Benign Viruses Shine on the Silicon Assembly Line.” The New York Times, New York. February 12, 2004. Frampton, Kenneth. Studies in Tectonic Culture. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 1995.

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Frazer, John. An Evolutionary Architecture. Architectural Association, London. 1995. Frenández-Galiano, Luis. Gariño, Gina, Tr. Fire and Memory: On Architecture and Energy. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 2000. Originally published: El fuego y la memoria. Sobre arquitectura y energía. Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1991. Gibson, William. Idoru. Berkley, New York. 1997. pps 107-110. Grant, Glenn. Memetic Lexicon. www.lucifer.com/virus/memlex.html. Herrmann, Wolfgang. Gottfried Semper: In Search of Architecture. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 1984. Hersey, George. The Monumental Impulse: Architecture’s Biological Roots. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 1999. Hodges, Andrew. Alan Turing: The Enigma. Vintage, London. 1983. Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm. Philosophical Writings. Everyman, London. 1995. Lindenmayer, Aristid and Prusinkiewicz, Przemyslaw. The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants. Springer-Verlag, New York. 1990. Lupton, Ellen. Skin: Surface, Substance, and Design. Princeton Architectural Press, New York. 2002. Lynn, Greg. Animate Form. Princeton Architectural Press, New York. 1999. Lynn, Greg. Folds, Bodies & Blobs: Collected Essays. La Lettre Volée, Brussles. 1998. Mannoni, Laurent. Etienne-Jules Marey: la mémoire de l’œil. Mazzotta and Cinémathèque française, Paris. 1999. Massumi, Brian. A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 1992. Mattheck, Claus. Linnard, William, Tr. Design in Nature: Learning from Trees. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 1998. Mayr, Ernst. This is Biology: The Science of the Living World. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA. 1997. Menocal, Narciso G. Architecture as Nature: The Transcendentalist Idea of Louis Sullivan. The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 1981. Mori, Toshiko, Ed. Immaterial / Ultramaterial: Architecture, Design, and Materials. George Braziller, Inc., New York. 2002. Pagels, Heinz R. The Cosmic Code. Bantam Books, New York, NY. 1982. Paul, Sherman. Louis Sullivan: An Architect in American Thought. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 1962. Ridley, Matt. Nature via Nurture: Genes, Experience, and What Makes Us Human. Harper Collins, New York, NY. 2003. Sprague, Paul E. The Drawings of Louis Henry Sullivan: A Catalogue of the Frank Lloyd Wright Collection at the Avery Architectural Library. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 1979. Steele, Edward J., Lindley, Robyn A., Blanden, Robert V. Lamarck’s Signature: How Retrogenes Are Changing Darwin’s Natural Selection Paradigm. Perseus Books, MA. 1998. Sullivan, Louis H. A System of Architectural Ornament: According with a Philosophy of Man’s Powers. The Eakins Press, New York. 1967.

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Sullivan, Louis H. The Autobiography of an Idea. Dover, New York. 1956. Sullivan, Louis H. Twombly, Robert, Ed. The Public Papers. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 1988. Sullivan, Louis H. Democracy: A Man-Search. Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI. 1961. Swinton, Jonathan. “Alan Turing and Morphogenesis.” http:// www.swintons.net/jonathan/turing.htm Thompson, D’Arcy. On Growth and Form. Cambridge University Press, London. 1961. Tschumi, Bernard and Berman, Matthew. Index Architecture. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 2003. Vidler, Anthony. Warped Space. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 2001. Wilson, Edmund B. The Cell in Development and Inheritance. Macmillan Company, New York. 1906. Wilson, Edward O. Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Random House, New York. 1999. Wolfram, Stephen. A New Kind of Science. Wolfram Media, Inc., IL. 2002.

Glossary Meme. “Contagious idea. Virus of the mind. Unit of cultural inheritance. Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins introduce the word (thought not the idea) in The Selfish Gene. His meaning: an idea that functions in the mind the same way a gene or virus functions in the body. An especially infectious idea is a ‘viral meme.’ These replicating thoughts are to cultural inheritance what genes are to biological heredity.” Hale, Constance, Ed. Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age. HardWired. San Francisco, CA. 1996. Monad. A philosophic term which now has currency solely in its connection with the philosophy of Leibniz. . . . Leibniz’s view of things is that the world consists of monads which are immaterial centers of force, each possessing a certain grade of mentality, selfcontained and representing the whole universe in miniature, and all combined together by a pre-established harmony. Material things, according to Leibniz, are in their ultimate nature composed of monads, each soul is a monad, and God is the monas monadum. Thus monadism, or monadology, is a kind of spiritual atomism. . . . The Encyclopedia Britannica. London, 1926.

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D-BA explores physical as well as digital design and architecture based on biological forms. Fusing Leibniz’s 18thcentury metaphysics with Richard Dawkins’s 20th-century theory of the meme, D-BA simultaneously interweaves Louis Sullivan’s “botanic architecture” as developed in his A System of Architectural Ornament with current design, contending that architecture is a waylaid biological extension of its builders—an extended phenotype as Dawkins would call it. • Dennis Dollens also explores the use of software such as Xfrog in order to grow building elements in his own work, for example his 2004 spiral bridge (influenced by the sponge euplectella), as well as in Duncan Brown’s experimental game spaces. To this discussion Dollens adds consideration of SymbioticaA’s stem cell sculptures as they relate to the potential for growing buildings. • D-BA thus carries Dollens’ s investigations well beyond his previous studies— Exodesic, The TumbleTruss Project, D2A: Digital to Analog, and Genetic Archtectures / Arquitecturas Genéticas (with Ignasi Pérez Arnal and Alberto Estévez)—to illustrate the hybridizing of philosophical, theoretical, and computational thought and practice in digital design and architecture.


D-BA: Digital-Botanic Architecture