An experimental approach towards Architectural Ecologies

Rachel Armstrong


This paper embodies an experimental architectural approach to the question of architectural ecologies. It defines and establishes a set of principles for this emerging practice and platform by providing examples of its proposals, as well as detailing areas for further exploration through a series of design experiments that are discovery- rather than results-led. Projects include characterizing the nonlinear performance of Bütschli droplets in the laboratory and the ontological and epistemological challenges they raise. The paper also details architectural projects including the environmentally embedded, dynamic responses of living chemistries within Philip Beesley’s cybernetic Hylozoic Ground installation and in taking an experimental approach towards establishing an environmentally contextualized reef to confer the foundations of a Future Venice with lifelike properties, thereby potentially transforming the fate of the city from inevitable destruction to potential survival. Finally, this paper reflects on how architectural ecologies may be applied experienced in wider urban environment through the production of Living Buildings through the establishment of new kinds of infrastructure. As such, this paper takes a position and vision for 21st century architecture through the emerging practice of architectural ecologies.


Bütschli droplets; design experiment; experimental architecture; living buildings; ecological; Hylozoic Ground; Future Venice; architecture; manifesto

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Systema: connecting matter, life, culture and technology (ISSN: 2305-6991) is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal. All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.