Architectural research practice for exploration and investigation of
natural morphologies and digital topologies in biodiverse ecosystems

Morphology of Biodivers[c]ity, California

Morphology of Biodivers[c]ity is a research project that studies form and structure in natural and biological environment of California. The catalogue is one of the outcomes of MAK Schindler residency program at Mackey apartments and it holds a collection of photographs taken over period of six months. It is also our base material and the case study for the work presented at final exhibition. There is a spectacular images collection of various intricate patterns, surreal desert landscapes, natural phenomenons and highly populated, densely infrastructure cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and finally Las Vegas - a very popular, and yet architecturally bizarre destination for West coast excursions. The research was focused on relationship between above mentioned entities and architectural context in contemporary digital realm. In other words, synthetic compositions in architectural design that are produced from organic structures and compounds.

During our studies at Greg Lynn’s Studio at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, we were closely looking at natural environments and its effects on habitation and spatial arrangements, especially fluid dynamic effects such as wind and climatic, atmospheric parameters and they were determining our design orientation and exploration. Our research was based on the relation of sustainable architectural systems in combination with natural effects on the building structure, design aesthetics and spatial qualities. Often moving between the cutting edge of architecture/design and highly technological approaches towards a new kind of architectural thinking, we were inspired by Greg Lynn and Hernan Diaz Alonso as well as many other professionals who work and teach in this specific field and explore this organic design. We were looking at growth patterns of plants and formations of bodies in nature and biological systems, especially the anatomy of the human body, its muscle’s tissues and skin in its relation to building systems and our aim was to take this formal beautiful design language towards a fun
ctional and environmentally efficient direction.

Following the same strategy, this project started by overlooking the contextual definitions of Los Angeles and California: animation, cinema, Disney, motion, art, plastic surgery, beach, ocean, and national parks. In all the elements we see a direct and intriguing relation to the space and environment. We were inspired by cultural aesthetics and local technological or organic typologies, and our goal was to emerge these spectacles into architecture in a visible perception. Specifically, looking at motion pictures like Avatar, Tron and other films from popular culture, perceiving image in 3D (or real) space is a significant way for producing spectacle. Rendering that 3D motion into something touchable is another way of performing an interaction between a human body and the object, and it is the sparking idea for generation of our final installation. Instead of projecting 3D animations onto a flat surface we are experimenting with stereoscopic videos projected on a large fabricated object. When casting the anaglyphic image on this physical volume, we are introducing the new perception of reality and virtuality.

Another exploration of perceptions is conducted through lenticular technology and lenses that simulate 3dimensional space on 2dimesnional object. As analogy to the nature, this phenomenon can be experienced in scenery of Mohave Deserts and Death Valley landscapes, where layers upon layers of stage elements (mountains, steppes, sand dunes, etc.) are positioned in choreography that is tricking our vision and perception of depth and scale. The lenticular prints represent the medium for better understanding the complexities of forms derived from natural elements.

The final representation of digital morphology in the exhibition is seen through stereolithograph prints. These 3D ABS plastic prints are only few of the various tests conducted by extracting the information from organic compositions within images from the catalogue of biodivers[c]ity. The material in the catalogue is also overlooking the phenomenon of scale in nature and its fractal appearance of certain morphologies in different sizes. Therefore, there are satellite images of specific areas as well as close ups of the same, where one can read the repetition in the overall pattern. Further, the morphology of biodiversity is showcasing these patterns on different organic elements in eco systems. From these facts we learn about behaviors and development in forms of nature. Nevertheless, the entire research with the installation, including this book, is only a departure point for our future architectural projects where some of this raw data will be synthesized together with other building parameters in creation of the new evolutionary design that serves both user and the natural context.

With Schindler house project we took advantage of the location and made evolution in our research by exploring the natural environments around Los Angeles and the applied technologies used in media driven world and film industry. From the ocean to the deserts we saw it as the perfect destination to explore the vast biodiversity in climatic differences which are visible in the existing surroundings in relation to city and landscape. We explored surface relief from the micro scale of a coral in the Pacific Ocean to the macro scale patterns in Mojave Desert rocks. We studied when and why do they occur and how can we smartly implement these deformations, distortions and mutations in architecture. Looking at all these templates we generated both digital and physical catalogue of organic and artificial habitats including animations, imitations and mimicry to form a morphogenetic and morphoecological design.