Ever since humans chose permanent residences and settlements, their lives have been shared with countless living organisms. Whilst some of our biological companions have been banished in our search to protect the personal and public health, most remain. Microscopic colonisers of our bodies, particulate airborne organisms and residents of our furnishings and appliances exist in great number and diversity. The whole fabric of our buildings acts as a series of ecological niches, for stubborn occupation and eventual succession, as well as for transient fragile interactions.
For the majority, these microbial worlds remain anonymous for a lifetime; the microscopic nature of their residents and the benign interaction with our daily lives provides a perceptual camouflage. However there is for some scientists a great potential interest. Just as humans developed settlements, and devised lifestyles dependent on permanent habitation, so developed a large number of microbial hazards. Respiratory diseases such as colds, influenza, legionnaires disease and more recently SARS have given aerobiologists food for thought. Other malign infectious agents stimulate vigorous debates about sanitation, filtration, UV treatment and disinfection.
Any ability to model microbial life within the built environment could have many scientific and technological benefits. Real time data and modelled predictions converted into digital images may give insight into the issues highlighted above as well as workplace health issues such as “sick building syndrome”. Above all, this virtual approach could do much to further the public understanding of biological science. Just as the early scientific illustrators engaged and enthused the lay public, contemporary media could draw many to the scientific arena. We should not here confine ourselves to consider modern deterministic and rational science, but also those interested in the science of qualities, chaos and complexity. This project could represent and illuminate a truly Goethean science of sensory perception and evaluation.
It also seems to me that this project would also offer much to the artist. A consideration of how to present the invisible, how to represent life and living organisms in four dimensions, and how technology can drive both artistic and scientific expression.
In our living building, we could see the mechanics of microbial contamination, the formation of transient and permanent biofilms, the movements of airborne bacteria, viruses and fungi as well as the biological events stimulated by human occupation and interaction. Millions of microbes are shed from the body of humans and other animals through natural processes, the sloughing of skin cells, the loss of hair, the aerosol formation from breathing, coughing and sneezing, as well as the regular processes of excretion and elimination.
In our living building we could hear the diversity of microbial life around us; number and variety represented by sound. Our living building could communicate with us, giving us details of the biological statistics it produces on a day to day basis; biomass, energy production, electrical power and genetic process.
- Arch-OS @ CeBIT 2004
- Arch-OS and the The Ami-I-Able Network
- Arch-OS launch
- Arch-OS Radio
- Arch-OS Workshop 06/05
- Buro Happold Mult-disciplinary Workshop
- Crystalpunk Workshop for Soft Architecture
- Cybrid Landscape
- Infectious Space
- Limited edition Arch-OS CD-ROM
- Living Building
- Portland Square Complex
- PSQ Symphony #1
- Psychometric Architecture
- Psychometric Architecture
- Random Lift Button
- Reading Room
- Recombinating Architecture
- Research TV
- Unit 20-Bartlett School of Architecture
- WAP Architecture