Polycephalum: Aesthetic as a Measure of Ecological Intelligence | Norman Foster Foundation

We could argue, in fact, that fungi, microorganisms, intelligent machines and all other communication devices are becoming biocitizens alongside human beings in that they are organisms we interact with to create a collective intelligence.

by Claudia Pasquero
published in "Architecture and Technology - Future of Cities" by Norman Foster Foundation, p. 431-444

We believe that a key purpose of our practice is to train our sensibilities, as well as the ones of our partners and clients, to recognise the emerging patterns of reasoning across disciplines, materialities and technological regimes, thus expanding the practice’s repertoire of aesthetic qualities in lieu of ecological design. Here, aesthetic is intended as a metalanguage, enabling a more complex level of communication with nonhuman partners. It is no longer, therefore, a case of architecture being inspired by other disciplines, such as biology and computer science, striving to become biomimetic or biophilic… rather, it is time to realise what architecture can give to other disciplines, precisely because of its self-contained materiality in terms of contributing to their actualisation in a new and reimagined spatial reality. Architecture as an embedded algorithm acquires its own nonhuman biointelligence and sensibility, which must be patiently trained, understood and cultivated.
For this reason, we feel that it is critical to avoid the trap of simply borrowing new tools and technologies, applying them to the solution of ever-increasing architectural challenges. On the contrary, it is critical to deploy them as techniques to access the nonhuman, the collective, and to shift our perspective beyond the boundaries of the rational. Such a shift has the power to greatly expand the space of solutions by reproblematising given problems. We need to ask new questions before providing solutions to what we consider is known. There has never been a better time for architects to claim this fundamental societal role.