Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture
critics: Ricardo de OSTOS & Christian DELECLUSE
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Tom BENARD: This project challenges the narrow condition that has always existed between the human and the architectural, following the human being in his or her fantasy of transcendence. Spiritual and mystical architectures have often taken hybrid shape between a spiritual and physical attempt to reach a higher state of wisdom and understanding. This project speculates on the opportunities offered to us in this new millennium, analyzing transhumanism as a contemporary expression of mysticism.
Extrapolating the last discoveries in the field of organ reproduction, this system raises the question of the new role that architecture could hold in human evolution, becoming more than a tool—an embodiment of the human condition, merging and becoming one.
This system would take the human bones structure as a base for an evolutionary architecture. Evolving not in terms of a shape, but in terms of its microscopic structure, playing both the role of a living library and of a guinea pig for the scientific community. Embodying the risings and the depressions of a science (fiction) on the edge of mysticism.
The bone structure is erected by a specifically designed 3-D printer on a biodegradable polymer base, used as a stem cell scaffold thanks to porosity which allowing the nesting and merging of specialized cells.
An artificial skin, created by the same machine would allow the creation and the sustainability of living structures, keeping these structures safe from external assaults and creating an artificial vascular network for incubation.
The building is composed of specialized laboratories, physically held by an exoskeleton. The resulting interdependence fully highlights the tension of life. The failure of a single element would threaten the whole edifice. The role of the scientists is revealed to be dual. On the one hand, they tend to work for the human community as a vector of raising its condition, and on the other they work to keep the tool operational. Thus, the building truly becomes one with the human in a process of bio-transcendence.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
TB: Antoni Gaudí, Hans Ruedi Giger, Rudolf Steiner, Rachel Armstrong, Tobias Klein, Youssef Al-Mehdari, Kenny Tsui, and the bio-engineering/DIY community.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
TB: Reading Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond; Moxyland and Zoo City by Lauren Beukes; and Scripting Cultures by Mark Burry. Listening to Alice Russell; Kavinsky; Woodkid; Muse; Daft Punk; and Skip the Use. Watching sports and various series.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
TB: Rachel Armstrong, François Roche, Kibwe Tavares, Philippe Rahm, Tom Wiscombe, and Morphosis.