Morphogenetic landscapes :
Author(s)Taylor, Daniel G. (Daniel Glenn)
Potential microhabitats in the Namib Desert
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
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This thesis is concerned with the creation of systems that respond to selective environmental conditions in extreme environments resulting in varying levels of habitation. The development of these morphogenetic landscapes was arrived at through two parts. The first was a rigorous analysis of the role that biology, ecology, genetics and evolutionary development play in current architectural discourse. The second part consisted of discarding this current trend and developing a new methodology that instead of taking architecture as a given and applying a biological thread, attempted to work within current biological research and find the architectural thread. This methodology begins with a fundamental shift in the perception of the relationship between organism and environment. In traditional Darwinian evolution, the environment presents problems and the organism attempts to answer them by adaptation. However, the organism is no longer thought to be a simple set of closed physiological systems that simply buffer the external environment to maintain life and thus maximize the chance at reproduction. Rather, the organism and it's constructed environment form an immediate and co-evolutionary continuum that is based on fluctuating, but specific, information flows. This phenomenon is best exhibited in extreme habitats where a few harsh climactic parameters take precedence. In such situations, many phylogenetically diverse species utilize the same climate conditions which make the entire ecosystem interdependent on many scales. One example of such a habitat is the Namib Desert in southwest Africa. It is not only one of the hottest and driest places or Earth, it is also the geologically oldest desert in the world at 55 million years. These parameters converge to create one of the most evolutionary excited environments in the world. Thus, the goal is to develop an architecture within this specific continuum of environmental flows that could foster scientific study in the relation between organism and its effective environment. The environmenta parameters consist of extreme heat, high wind levels and the Namib's unique moisture rich fog. Through this biological and ecological analysis, the thesis became the creation of an architectural organism that selectively utilizes natural parameters to construct its own environmental continuum. Thus, the intervention was conceived as fostering no supporting [human] habitation while at the same time creating multiple microhabitats by its very existence. It is simultaneously a vehicle for study and an object of study.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 2007.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis. Pages 16 to 23 are missing from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (page 81).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology