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Check out the Interview by Tonya Sudiono about the Building as Being project and symposium!

Together with Waag and in the context of my new ArtScience fellowship at the UvA Institute of Advanced Studies, I'm organizing the online symposium series Building as Being. During 4 special events, we will look at building in the widest sense of the word, at the scale of Matter, the Mind and the City. Join the dialogue via the chat!

What does it mean to build today, how did building evolve over time and how shall we build in the future? For the main course of geological time, most shapes have grown by the principle of self-organization, whereby order emerges without a master controller. Matter, life and human consciousness cascaded into order as elements were organized into ever more complex shapes, fueled by a source of energy: geothermal heat, the sun and predation. More recently – geologically speaking- humankind started to consciously design the environment, while disrupting eco- and climate systems. Does our expanding human ego, seeking to capture the world in models, floorplans and blueprints, interfere with our ability of ‘being in the world’? Can we reconnect to the building instincts imprinted in our collective consciousness, by seeing our houses as part of our bodies and our urban environments as part of the ecosystem? Would it be possible to allow more entropy in our urban design strategies and grow cities in interaction with trees, insects, microbes, birds, soils, bedrock, minerals, water and air? What can we learn from the self-organizing mechanisms of crystals for our architectural approaches? The Building as Being Symposium explores these questions in dialogue with experts in the field of urban design, material science, sociology and art.


Sunday 28th of March | 15:00 – 15:40 | Subscribe here
A walk around Amsterdam Science Park with De Onkruidenier, reflecting on the evolution of the landscape and on how we can adapt to our environment.

The City
Thursday 1st of April 2021 | 20:00 – 21:15 | Subscribe here
How can self-organizing principles shape our cities and how can we grow materials in collaboration with bacteria?

Dr. Sharon Wohl, Architecture and Urban Design, Iowa State University, US.
This talk will provide an overview of some of the key concepts associated with complexity – including the nature of self-organization and emergence. It will then consider how civic form might be activated or enabled to harness such processes – yielding emergent, self-organizing and ‘swarm-like’ urban design strategies.

Dr. Marie-Eve Aubin-Tam, Bionanoscience department, TU Delft, NL.
Nacre is the inner iridescent layer in shells, produced by mollusks; a material providing high stiffness and high strength. In her talk Aubin-Tam will show how her group at TU Delft uses bacteria to mimic nacre’s structure and attractive mechanic properties.

The Mind
Thursday 15th of April 2021 | 20:00-21:15 | Subscribe here
How does self-organization shape the individual and collective human mind? Can we allow entropy and emergence in our collective thinking and how would this affect our building strategies and our ability to be part of the biosphere?

Prof. Dr. Brian Castellani, Sociology department, Durham University, UK and Psychiatry department, Northeast Ohio Medical University, US.
Rethinking cognitive self-organisation – from cells to minds and society. For this talk, Brian will focus on the role cognitive self-organisation plays in our human lives – from the nonconscious cognition of our human cells and immune systems to our multiple levels of brain-based cognition to the social-ecological and cyber-technical cognitive systems in which we live.

Orion Maxted and the Interactions group with a collective mind performance.

Thursday 22nd of April 2021 | 20:00-21:15 | Subscribe here
What is the role of self-organization in the emergence of architectural shapes? What can we learn from self-assembly principles of crystals and life-like systems in building and growing new materials? With:

Prof. Dr. Wim Noorduin, Self-Organizing Matter group, AMOLF (NL)
On self-organization of mineral nano-architectures and the emergence of life-like systems.

Dr. Esmee Geerken, Waag, Institute for Advanced Studies and Self-Organizing Matter group, AMOLF (NL).
On growing new forms and materials through the interaction of unexpected actors.