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In this talk, David Benjamin, founding principal of The Living, argues that buildings should not be considered static and permanent objects, but instead dynamic and continually transforming systems, the design of which demands collaborative teams and open protocols. As both the burdens and the demands of architecture increase with the climate crisis, buildings should not be considered static and permanent objects, but instead dynamic and continually transforming systems.

Benjamin is best known for his Pier 35 EcoPark (a 200-foot-long floating pier in the East River that changes colour according to water quality), and Hy-Fi (a branching tower for the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 made of a new type of biodegradable brick). Focusing on the intersection of biology, computation, and design, Benjamin has articulated three frameworks for harnessing living organisms for architecture: bio-processing, bio-sensing and bio-manufacturing.

This lecture is part of “Towards a New Architecture: Climate change and design,” a series of discussions held by New York’s Architectural League in which leading practitioners and educators describe the urgent need for change and sketch the outlines of new ways of thinking and acting as architects and landscape architects. On each evening, respondents will draw out the implications of the ideas presented and offer suggestions for implementing them at a speed and scale commensurate with the climate emergency.

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