Rachel Armstrong

“The lecture as a whole was very inspiring even more so because she’s doing exactly what I want to do as a career. Exploring new areas and ideas in design.” Jumana

15 February – (21 February) | Lecture 5 | Rachel Armstrong

‘Evolved, not made’

Rachel Armstrong innovates and designs sustainable solutions for the built and natural environment using advanced new technologies such as, Synthetic Biology – the rational engineering of living systems – and smart chemistry. Her research prompts a reevaluation of how we think about our homes and cities and raises questions about sustainable development of the built environment. She creates open innovation platforms for academia and industry to address environmental challenges such as carbon capture & recycling, smart ‘living’ materials and sustainable design.

Her award winning research underpins her bold approach to the way that she challenges perceptions, presumptions and established principles related to scientific concepts and the building blocks of life and society. She embodies and promotes new transferrable ways of thinking ‘outside of the box’ and enables others to also develop innovative environmental solutions. Her innovative approaches are outlined in her forthcoming TED Book on Living Architecture.

Watch Rachel Armstrong’s TED Fellows talk, “Creating Carbon-Negative Architecture” >>


Sign up for Twitter to follow Rachel Armstrong (@livingarchitect)


Links >>>


Hylozoic Ground

  1. sunni11 said:

    I liked this lecture on technology and biological aspects, and how they all linked up.

  2. MonicaR1234 said:

    Rachel Armstrong was energetic in her lecture which made it fun and interesting to listen to.

  3. WEEK 6 RACHEL ARMSTRONG by http://johnhuang888.wordpress.com/university-work/design-context/gamswen-project/week-6-rachel-armstrong/

    Rachel Armstrong-Living Architecture

    Rachel Armstrong is a sustainability innovator who creates new materials that process some of the properties of natural living system and can be manipulate to grow architecture.

    As she spoke, I felt her words were filled with compassion, idea and confidence. Which made her presentation really convincing and easy to understand.

    When she was a medical doctor, visited the leprosy hospital in India. She happen to realise leprosy is a profound disease, where it eats aways the nervous and support tissue of a patient, causing the body to collapse and eventually death. Symptom of leprosy is when you start to loose your sense of touch and feel in any part of your body this is when the bacteria are eaten away your nervous cells. During the time she spent there, she saw some patients had shaped and inserted wax into the cavity to re-create the appearance that they once had. Even though it couldn’t restore their nervous system but it can help them regain their human appearance they once had.

    She then said it was this action that shocked her. Rather making the body more machine like, they are using materials to make them more human like. This then pointed the new trend in this modern society. With advanced biological technology, people are given the ability to replace their organs and change the facial appearance. This ability seem to be like machines because we can replace our body part at ease just like a mating, rather than an actual living organism or tissue.

    With the abusive use of this ability, we seen to treat our environment or earth as a machine, a place where we can extract materials for our personal gains. With many example she show in lecture, many cases consisted to show where machine and nature to collide there is a detrimental effect on the environment and this simply isn’t sustainable.

    Rachel then stated there is one possible solution for this, is Bio-Architecture. In her opinion she thinks this is the only thing possible to make the world sustainable or even to save the pant to it’s doom. Human population growth has being an on going processes and after another 50 years millions and millions of people will be born into this planet. This means we have to build more living spaces for them, which means we have to extract more material from this planet earth, which is not a sustainable. With this synthetic Biology she has been researching for these past few years, she has created this biological called “Protocell”, this cell doesn’t have any DNA in it to instruct it what to do. Through time it can produce solid substances such as limestone which can absorb carbon dioxide, which i find is amazing and shocking. How ever this development are still in the early stages, but she confirmed with us this biological technology will work and will change our future home, to make our home a carbon negative living space.

    The video above that i found as i came across her website. I was interested to the part how she use protocols to create wall paint that can produce limestone to absorb carbon dioxide. I think this idea is genius.

    Overall I was really engaged in this lecture, what she said about changing our future living a space is really amazing. How she can change existing buildings to carbon negative building or structure. I really enjoyed my time listening to her lecture, I find it really inspiring. And i can’t wait to see what change she can bring to the world.

  4. Dr Rachle Armstrong’s Lecture (4) by http://jumanahasso1.wordpress.com/

    ‘Evolution, not made’.

    Her career revolves around making innovative designs and solutions for built and natural environments. She goes about doing this by breaking it down to the raw elements of the subject. Her work focuses largely on research in to the biology of everything around us. This has revolutionisied the way we construct and design our future.

    The lecture was called Evolved, not Made which is referenced to technology as a natural form. I found the lecture quite motivating as it helped open my mind to new techniques. Rachel Armstrong broke down design to the core and the science behind it, her main focus was on the elements of design; what and who we are designing for. The brief to every project is the key to a successful project. She highlighted that due to evolving technology our ideas can be taken to a new level of communication.

    But what I found most interesting were her experiences when she travelled around the world. I remember when story vividly in India where people where loosing teeth etc due to poor oral hygiene she said they would replace it with a special type of clay they find in the ground which they mould and use as replacements. She explained how travelling helped her see solutions through other people’s eyes which is very important in the design industry.

    The lecture as a whole was very inspiring even more so because she’s doing exactly what I want to do as a career. Exploring new areas and ideas in design.

  5. Rachel Armstrong – Evolved, not made by http://domiinika.wordpress.com/gamswen/rachel-armstrong-evolved-not-made/

    “Architecture can only be truly sustainable when it is connected to nature, not insulated from it.” Rachel Armstrong

    One of the most interesting lecture than we had were the subject is going far beyond art. The lecturer was Rachel Armstrong who is an interdisciplinary practitioner and researcher with a background in medicine. Since an early age Rachel was really interested in Biology and fascinated by a natural world. Then she decided to study medicine in order to engage herself with the design and engineering of living things.

    She talks about the leprosy , as an example of how body can be transformed by the disease and how powerful and destructive bacteria can be. She explains that seeing people with leprosy in India was a point where she started to thing on what is actually happening and how we can start to look at the world. Then she presented a short movie of the living thing and begin to ask some of the students what they saw in order to engage more with the subject of the lecture. She goes back to the western philosophy and times of Enlightenment to finally made a thesis that the people and science oversimplify the world which distorts the complexity and variety that exist within the natural world. They think more in terms of mechanical things as an alternative instead of looking more into nature. Rachel says “I need to feel that I can influence the world around me and I need to feel that I can do this in a ethical way that I think is fair and I think it aspires to higher values and I would like to share these values with others.” She also talks about the ecology and pollution in Venice and gives an example of the Gaudi’s architecture as an organical approach to design. The aim of all those information which Rachel was giving us is to tell the importance of the biology in architecture and how can it change the world.

    Today Rachel is a co-director of AVATAR Group and Senior TED fellow. She innovates and designs sustainable solutions for the built of the natural environment using advanced new technologies such as Synthetic Biology and smart chemistry. She shows us a revolutionary approach to fight climate change and pollution, the way of making buildings that would capture and store carbon dioxide.

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