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Explorations through Bio-ID and its future implications: A lecture by Marcos Cruz
The College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) continued its lecture series featuring an impressive lineup of international professionals, with a presentation from Marcos Cruz, Programme Director of the master’s program in bio-integrated design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London on October 30.
Speaking to AUS students and faculty, Cruz provided insight into the field of bio-integrated design—or Bio-ID—which involves design solutions that have been directly influenced by three main sources: the biology that surrounds us, advanced digital and computational design tools such as scripting and robotics, and the need to address the reality of climate change.
Committed to incorporating biology into architectural discourse and design, the Bio-ID course at the Bartlett combines instruction from the Departments of Architecture and Biochemical Engineering.
Biochemical engineers, Cruz explained, see the world very differently from architects. From an architectural perspective, the processes explored are considered additive, while the decomposition and disintegration of the built environment are looked at negatively and great efforts go into mitigating their progress and impact.
On the other hand, from a biochemical perspective, disintegration is considered a natural part of all organic processes. Cruz argued that accepting the fact that decomposition is an imminent and certain outcome in the context of built environments, architects will be able to more appropriately deal with the impact of global climate change.
And with such a strong emphasis on biology, Cruz affirmed that environmental analysis is of utmost importance in the planning process. A significant example of this is seen in Cruz’s own research through which he was able to define the benefits of organisms such as cryptogams in the built environment, namely, the cityscape. These organisms are one of the largest absorbers of carbon dioxide, making them one of nature’s most useful and relevant creatures to today’s context of global warming.
Bio-ID incorporates naturally occurring phenomena such as cryptogams into its designs and creates a dialogue and harmony between built and microscopic living. In these designs, the built components act as hosts or containers for these organisms and anticipate their growth and development as accurately as possible to give rise to compelling designs that are no longer isolated from the natural, organic surroundings, but instead become a part of it.
Ultimately, the goal of Bio-ID is to incorporate green design solutions into architectural discourse in a more cohesive and integrated manner, as opposed to the superficial inclusivity of popular elements such as green walls. The idea that the built environment is not static, but continuously growing, is an approach that may offer numerous solutions to ongoing global and local environmental issues.
And for Cruz and the Bartlett, this is also an approach which ensures new designers will view their work with a real sense of responsibility towards their natural surroundings to create sustainable solutions that simultaneously benefit the environment and the end user.
For more information about the College of Architecture, Art and Design at AUS and our calendar of events, visit www.aus.edu/caad.