Genomic Systems Architecture: The Biosingularity
Biotechnologies such as genomic mapping, gene therapy and genetic engineering perceptibly allow the material human body to become a configurable entity of production, reproduction, sensation and temporality. As such conditions co-ordinate with architecture via scale, shelter, symbol and scenario, this thesis speculates upon new territories cultured by the impact of these technologies on the architectural imagination. By exploring the potential of biological material systems through computational simulation, it will further hypothesise a series of architectural propositions which contemplate the possible realities of inhabitation in this speculative urban ecology.
Focusing on the investigation of systematic organisations that occur within biological bodies, this project centres on adapting the logic of these assemblages into computational tools. A genomic architecture conceives the design of the built environment according to the code in its genome, in this instance, DNA becomes binary code: it is a computational principle, and it treats the body as a mutable infomatic field. DNA therefore makes architecture.
With the use of simulation systems, models of genetic and cellular growth processes are translated into programmable digital matter encoded with inherent properties and behaviours. The process can be seen as one of exploration: both in the definition of simulation logic and in the exploration of a range of results achievable once a system has been defined. By generating these systems computationally, this thesis seeks to understand the architectonic possibilities adapted from the most basic fabrics of construction, that of molecular and genetic levels of materiality.
Using the body as an index of organisational investigation, attention is paid to the systematic make-up of the body as a figurative principle that reforms and extends purely biological processes into more comprehensive bio-technical systems for genomic architecture. Allegorical relationships between body and structure are therefore exploded, incorporating biological and architectural bodies into indiscrete and reversible territories, body-architecture hybrids, and genetically engineered architectures and structural systems. It is a redefinition of the border between building and body.