We have seen the future, and it’s biosynthetic. More precisely it’s a future where biological systems are twisted, spliced, and altered, to such an extent that any distinction between synthetic and organic is lost. Gone are the days of blunt engineering as a means of total control – concrete dams and electro-shock therapy. Today science is moving us deeper into the nano-world of microchips and molecules, where new more refined forms of control are possible, where organic processes can be mimicked, modified, and augmented. In this new biosynthetic world, luminescent trees will light our sidewalks, massive oyster beds will defend us from the floods, and hacked Lyre birds will broadcast the radio. But with new powers comes new responsibilities. We’ve seen a thousand TED talks promising us these new wonders, but we’ve rarely discussed the human element. What does it all require of us? What are the new produced? The skill sets, knowledge, and codes of ethics required to maneuver in this brave new biosynthetic world?
For years, the interior played second fiddle to ‘proper’ architecture, but there are signs a shift is taking place. Stagnant economies, shrinking populations, environmental imperatives, all signal that there is less reason to build, and more reason to make better use of what we have. Digging deeper, we find the interior is a powerful marker of who we are and what we want to be; ‘lifestyle’ in other words. Political ideology, social norms and psychology all get played out on the inside. The interior relates intimately to the society we live in, and it’s up to us to understand this dynamic, to provoke it. Like the old adage ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, let’s ‘open up’ architecture and take a closer look inside.
Centers are on the move — and so too peripheries. As the world grows more complex different systems are claiming different territories. Distribution networks, financial hubs, industrial zones, food belts, wind farms, data centers, they all develop their own logic and territorial claim, not necessarily overlapping in what was once called the center. And our traditionally conceived centers (downtown, the Western world, global cities) are slipping away. When assessing these claims, the question is forced: Are you in or are you out?