Bio-materialism: Experiments in biological material computation

In his article ‘Towards a Novel Material Culture’ Menges traces the origins of contemporary computational and fabrication techniques in architecture to ‘New Materialism’. Developed by thinkers such as Manuel DeLanda  and Jane Bennett, the philosophical school characterizes matter as active and “empowered by its own tendencies and capacities”. In architecture, New Materialism has often become associated with biomimetics. However, over the past four years we have been developing a series of projects that take inspiration from the New Materialist paradigm, but that aspire to develop demonstrators and technologies which go beyond biomimicry and make direct use of living systems, designing through the manipulation of living cells.