Second Session continues (Defne Sunguroglu Hensel)

Defne Sunguroglu is the last presenter today with a talk titled “Adaptive Design in Biology and Architecture.”

She is echoing some of Michael Hensel’s closing comments about need for collaboration between fields and disciplines, especially when data goals are similar.

So, here we are in the anthropocene…. ecological markers have shown that human intervention has caused widespread and irreversible changes in the climate.

“Adaptive design” is the evolutionary principle that helps us to understand these movements through geological time periods.

Why not try to define architecture in these terms? What about material systems that adapt to environment.

The typical adaptation in design configuration:

MATERIAL is adapted to DESIGN is adapted to ENVIRONMENT


ENVIRONMENT is adapted to DESIGN is adapted to MATERIAL

“similarity between two species tells us to look for ENVIRONMENTAL conditions.” — Waddington’s epigenetic model shows us the only possible routes for a phenotype to “travel.”

For example, when looking at sea snail shells, you will see adaptation in form and thickness that models the presence of crawfish predators.

An attempt to realise this logic / thinking process is the “nested catenaries” project.

In the same way of thinking, the work of Eliado Dieste displays environmental logic and preconditions for the material brick.

Likewise, environmental analysis of an ottomak kiosk showed that not only did the second canopy create shade, but it created turbulence that allowed the air movement to cool users.

It seems that the understanding of this relation between the physical, environmental (recalling, again, Michael Hensel’s ‘feedback loop’ characterization of architecture) and performance led to experiments with the catenary form in brick–built in full-scale at Ritoque, Chile, with students. These nested catenary forms have withstood several earthquakes without cracking.

“Above all, what I want to stress is that the information we are working with is growing…. we are beginning to build a model of convergence thinking and material ontology.”