The annual Bartlett B-pro pubblication features the work of the Urban Morphogenesis LAB directed by Claudia Pasquero
Urban Morphogenesis Lab
The Urban Morphogenesis Lab engages urban design as a computational practice to prefigure alternative models to the city represented as a complex dynamic system. The ambition of the Lab is to simulate transdisciplinary discourse that reaches wider academic research networks and scientific organisations involved in the study of the city as a living system, and to develop future bio-digital technologies. The Lab adopts computational, analogue, biological and digital design methods to dew terrains of negotiation between strategic and tactical forms of intervention. Coding enables the study of biological models, generating a multiplicity of effects at scales ranging from the molecular to the territorial, from the
quasi-instantaneous to the geological.
The Lab’s work is largely studio-based and students are encouraged
to work in teams and to engage design as a form of research. Current
research focuses on the urban application of models of collective
intelligence inspired by slime mould's biological algorithms and mycelium
fungi, on the development of resilient and distributed bio-energy
infrastructures, on the engineering of bio-digital soil remediation and
articulation as well as on the material articulation of adaptive water
Students have been investigating computational processes,
mastering the use of digital simulation as an analytical design tool,
investigating the relationship between the physical and the digital. Initial abstract studies were informed through the recursive processes
that have been gradually introducing context, providing a wide range
of specific data, internal and external conditions, limitations and potentials
for design intervention. The main focus has been on processes as well as
intermediate and finite states of morphogenetic design studies.
Analogue modelling is used extensively in the Lab. Students have
developed wet models and living test-beds where digital morphologies
are inoculated with living organisms. These biotechnological hybrids allow
us to test the local metabolic manipulation of flows of renewable energy,
information and matter, as well as the emergence of urban networks of
collective exchange. These experiments have been making use of physical computing as well as remote sensate data to create a live communication
stream between wet models the living organism and the digital urban simulation codes.
Urban protocols are re-described as interactive design toolkits. The students work on the development of tools that help understand design as a collective project where negotiation and tactics drive the generation of urban morphogenesis in the real time. Feedback is captured in a set of visual outputs, such as video interfaces, time lapse photography and parametric drawing.