Lecture: Philip Beesley : Radiant Soil

Philip Beesley : Radiant Soil
02.05.13 // 12:00 – 12:30
Chair for CAAD, HPZ Floor F

Might architecture be envisioned as a kind of radiant, diffusive soil? New projects from the Hylozoic Series explore fertile, diffusive systems. The radically open qualities of this new kind of aerial soil might seem opposite to the kinds of disciplined forms that minimize waste and serve sustainable architecture. Equations that seek maximum territory and minimum exposing faces might say that waste reduction demands the closure of boundaries and the avoidance of exposure. Yet the deeply fissured forms of snowflakes and flowers demonstrate effective energy exchanges that are based on maximum interaction with their surroundings. If buildings were designed for diffusion and interwoven relationships, perhaps forms akin to forests and soils might result.

Philip Beesley will present recent projects from the Hylozoic Series with underlying concepts and next stages of development in the work. Pursuing a renewed, diffusive form-language for architecture, several different kinds of active liquid cells are integrated within masses of suspended glass flasks within current building assemblies in development. These include protocells, organic power cells, reticulated storage manifolds and scent-lures. Glass vessels house self-generating protocells, offering osmotic felt-like skins, and blooming precipitates. Other liquid cells have forms akin to natural glands. Organic power cells provide weak amounts of current in the form of pulses that behave like unconscious reflexes within a human nervous system.


Philip Beesley MRAIC OAA RCA (Professor School of Architecture, University of Waterloo; Director Integrated Group for Visualization, Design and Manufacturing, Director Riverside Architectural Press) is a practicing architect developing responsive kinetic architectural environments that approach near-living functions. He is cited as a pioneer in the rapidly expanding technology of responsive architecture with wide press including WIRED, TEDx, Discovery Channel features. He has authored and edited eight books, three international proceedings and a number of catalogues, and appears on the cover of Artificial Life (MIT), LEONARDO and AD journals. Current projects are in London, Paris, Edmonton and Hangzhou. He was selected to represent Canada for the 2010 Venice Biennale for Architecture and the 2012 Biennale of Sydney. A series of dresses with Iris Van Herpen were recently launched at Paris Fashion Week. Distinctions include Prix de Rome in Architecture (Canada), VIDA 11.0, FEIDAD, RAIC Allied Arts, ACADIA Emerging Digital Practice, Dora Mavor Moore awards. He is chair for the ACADIA 2013 Adaptive Architecture international conference.