A while back, I visited experimental architect, Philip Beesley, in his studio in Toronto’s west end. I went to talk to him about the enormous, beautiful, installation piece he’s taking to the Venice Biennale of Architecture, representing Canada. It’s a remarkable work, called Hylozoic Ground. You can see some images here. Hylozoism was the concept that everything contained some sort of life force, and this is reflected in Philip’s work metaphorically. He’s working in the area of ‘responsive architecture,’ where structures can change or move in response to external, environmental conditions, or in response to the way the people within the space are using it.
What I love about Philip’s work is the way he’s breaking down the hard line between the built and the natural environment, creating spaces that are permeable, changeable, and, well, responsive. As we humans start to generate more data about where we are, and how we are using the space around us (for example, with our GPS-enabled phones, we ‘check in’ at locations) will we be able to provide buildings with more information about us, and how we want to use the space? You can imagine a future in which architecture, the environment, and us, are all in a loop of information and response to that information.
Anyhoo, if you’re curious about Beesley’s thoughts, my interview with him on Spark is here