Supported by some of the biggest names in the creative industries, The Rookies is the world's leading international annual competition for young, up and coming designers, creators, innovators and artists. A juror since 2016, having reviewed this year's entries in the category of Architecture, my star picks for 2017 are:
DNA House [above] by Anna Eckes of Cracow University explores the potentialities of biomolecular computing in architectures within a fresh water habitat. The project evidences study of organic forms in their natural setting, interest in biological processes and structures, and an appreciation of the subtlety of the beauty of faunal species.
The work of Peter Efe of University of Greenwich [below] resides in the domain of the imaginary city. The entry is one of four cities that he conceived, for which inspiration came from sources including the Lloyd’s Building by Richard Rogers, a city of the dead featured in Hollywood movie The Mummy (1999), and the Neo Apocalyptic City.
The Amalgamation Ritual [bottom] by Martynas Kasiulevicius of University of Westminster is designed around a Cappadocian Maple tree in Kew Gardens, London. The tree was "3D scanned to obtain accurate three-dimensional readings and accurate scale data of every phototropic branch and trunk". Exploring an ancient pagan handfasting ceremony, the project artfully combines inspiration and ideas spanning anthropology, culture, ecology, and architecture, together with a high degree of skill in working with several artistic mediums.
View the Rookies 2017 Architecture entries at:
Image: The Trail by Chris Rossetto and Emma Lubbers
National Park City Foundation's 'Imagine' competition invited artists, designers, and architects to imagine and visualise London as a National Park City. Over 50 entries flooded in from around the world, many exhibiting an innate grasp of the imperative to create greater ecological connectivity in and across London, and in cities about the world.
I had the pleasure to join peers including Andrew Grant (Grant Associates), author and journalist Will Self, Gemma Ginty (Future Cities Catapult), Ben Smith (AECOM), Judy Ling Wong (Black Environment Network), and more, to judge the entries, and give thoughts and feedback on their potential. All agreed the overall standard of entries was superb, indeed so much so that we selected not one, but a handful of winners.
'Imagine' Highly Commended:
Read more at: http://www.nationalparkcity.london/imagine
Image: Earthrise, NASA, 1968
Never has the imperative to think, thereon to act, ecologically been greater. But to our great advantage, humanity is now endowed with such scientific insights; technological means; willing, able, and ready talent, both at the individual, and the organisational scale, as can potentially meet that imperative. Peoples far and peoples wide, peoples of all manner of capabilities are, and in ever-growing numbers, coming together to “make the planet great again”. In our hands rests the collective responsibility to not merely undo environmental damage done, but to utilise our potential, and to its fullest, to ensure the continued integrity of Earth’s systems: atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, biosphere, and pedosphere. Whereupon we harness our intellect, and the imagination born thereof, we turn immense challenges into exponential opportunities. For all the many possible worlds in our Universe, we stand upon the foremost significant unto our future - and to that of every living creature on the planet, therein all known life. May we rise to the occasion, today, World Environment Day, and every day.
Read about World Environment Day at: http://worldenvironmentday.global
Read a few more thoughts on the imperative to protect the environment at:
Forum for the Future's Futures Centre, based out of Singapore, is a global community to track change and accelerate sustainable action. April 24th 2017 saw the launch of its #LivingGrid conversation, which explores "how humanity might design an energy system that can continuously renew itself, making our lifeless grid more interactive and able to flex in response to the ebbs and flows of renewable energy, so that it behaves like a living system".
Themes include "what can human systems learn from the rest of life on Earth?"; "How would nature design our energy system?"; and "How can we behave less like consumers in an energy market and more like organisms in an ecosystem?".
#LivingGrid activities span online articles, discussions, and content sharing designed to highlight signals of change and encourage sense-making. Participants include architect Michael Pawlyn of Exploration Architecture, London; Ash Buchanan of Cohore, Melbourne; members of the Future Centre's team, Singapore; and myself.
Contributions to #LivingGrid will be compiled into a print publication launching later in the year, but, in the meantime, join the conversation and contribute your thoughts on building bio-inspired energy systems.
Read Sensemaking: Evolution at:
Read Sensemaking: Systems at:
Join the LivingGrid conversation at: https://www.thefuturescentre.org/livinggrid
Can you imagine London as the world’s first National Park City? What might place-making for both human and non-human species look like? In partnership with Time Out London, London National Park City campaign is calling artists, designers, illustrators, cartographers, urbanists, film-makers, developers, architects and landscape architects to help Londoners visualise the capital’s future as a National Park City.
The best entries will gain coverage across LNPC’s website and social media, and may also appear in Time Out magazine. Submissions may explore ideas with the potential to make an impact small or large, and embrace wide-ranging ways to help realise the London National Park City dream. The submission deadline for entries is Friday May 19th 2017, and entries may come from both individuals and teams.
I am delighted to join an array of expertise on the jury, including author Will Self; Grant Associates founder, Andrew Grant; Urban Futures lead at Future Cities Catapult, Gemma Ginty; senior researcher at London College of Communication Dr. Alison Prendiville; Director of Sustainable Development, Buildings and Places at AECOM, Ben Smith; Director of the Black Environment Network, Judy Ling Wong CBE OBE; Director of the Thames Estuary Partnership, Pat Fitzsimons; and invertebrate zoologist and general ecologist Dr. Steve Head.
For entries details visit: http://www.nationalparkcity.london/imagine
On March 9th I had the pleasure to join Michael Weinstock [EmTech, AA School], Marco Poletto [ecoLogicStudio], and Katya Larina [Landscape Urbanism, AA School] at The Bartlett’s Urban Morphogenesis Lab to critique the work of its Masters programme Bio-Urban Design Research Cluster 16. Led by architect Claudia Pasquero, together with a team including architect/researcher Emmanouil Zaroukas, the programme works “within a research agenda that addresses issues of morphogenesis and metabolisms through multi-spectral methodology that the Lab has named Polycephalum”.
The projects presented explored the potentialities of developing a range of biological materials, including bioplastic, microbial cellulose, and biorock, and of working with living organisms, including silk moths. Intelligent, inspired, and compelling projects, together with fellow jurors, I much look forward to seeing how the projects develop.
Delighted to be aboard as scientific advisor to Biosphere IV, which founded by theatre director Tom Bailey , brings together environmental historian Marianna Dudley, and cultural geographer Franklin Ginn, with University of Bristol, at-Bristol, the Mechanical Animal Corporation, and Bionic City, to develop "an artificially created space with live performance to help imagine and explore how we experience and adapt to life in the face of environmental change". Science meets Arts meets Humanities, more information is coming soon:
Joining Symbiartic's #SciArt tweet storm for the third year in a row, this year's contribution comes from the 'Flower Power' microscopic studies series, which has been ongoing since 2014.
Attracting a huge community of support, Symbiartic's annual tweet storm celebrates transdisciplinary practice at the intersection of science and art.
Engagement is simple: tweet 3 [or more] pieces of your own sciart; retweet 5 pieces of sciart by other tweet storm participants; hashtag your tweets #sciart.
Find out more at: https://www.symbiartic.com
For the love of nature, Bionic City is participating in the 'Show the Love' campaign, which run by the Climate Coalition, celebrates all that needs protecting in the natural world. The images featured in Bionic City's hearts are from the 'Sewing the Seeds of Love' microscopic studies series.
Participants of the campaign make and tweet a heart featuring a species or a habitat, using the hashtag #ShowTheLove. Find out more at http://fortheloveof.org.uk/
Melissa Sterry, design scientist, systems theorist, futurologist, cross disciplinary designer developing Bionic City®, and PhD Researcher.
Asking the question "how would nature design a city" since 2010.
© Melissa Sterry 2017 All Rights Reserved