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Home / Christina COGDELL on "The Gene in Context: Organic Complex Systems as a Model for Generative Architecture."

Christina COGDELL on "The Gene in Context: Organic Complex Systems as a Model for Generative Architecture."

When May 04, 2010
from 04:00 PM to 05:30 PM
Where ART 210D
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In avant-garde “generative architecture,” the boundaries
are blurring between the theories, processes, and tools of
architecture and the biomedical and evolutionary sciences. In part,
this stems from a common reliance upon computation to generate novel
solutions for problems involving multi-dimensional data sets, such as
those derived from genetic sequencing or the multifaceted conditions
affecting building design and construction. This talk focuses on the
teaching and research collaboration known as LabStudio at the
University of Pennsylvania, started by architect Jenny Sabin and
molecular biologist Peter Lloyd Jones, based upon my participation in
their graduate seminar and observation of their research last year at

            LabStudio is one of a few architectural centers that is
seriously engaging theories of emergence, self-organization,
morphogenesis, and nonlinear complex adaptive systems. The theoretical
and procedural insights being developed at LabStudio are opening new
ways of considering architectural design as organic process, and, vice
versa, organic tissue as an architectural form whereby normal
morphology can predominate over gene expression during conditions of
disease. As the two founders recently stated, “By placing the tissue
or organism, rather than the gene at the center of life, a different
perspective on the construction and dynamics of organismal
architecture is beginning to emerge.”

            LabStudio is, therefore, highly innovative for its
scientific applications and foundational for the broader movement of
“generative architecture,” much of which is more gene-centered than
systems-focused. This talk places LabStudio’s work into conversation
with a few other practitioners of “generative architecture” to examine
how the concept of the “gene in context” reflects their systems-based

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