Living Architecture (Residential)

Living Architecture 2020

Molly Powers
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Session 1: Jul 5-18, 2020

Architecture forms the fabric of our cities with buildings that not only provide protected spaces to live, work, learn, worship, and be entertained but also create the urban character. Beyond the advent of steel structures, architecture hasn’t changed very much in the last few hundred years: most buildings have concrete or stone foundations, solid structures made out of wood, steel, or reinforced concrete, glass windows that either open or are sealed shut, and floors that hold people and equipment. But there are two huge issues: the construction industry produces a large percentage of CO2 emissions worldwide through the production of cement, and construction and demolition waste takes up large portions of landfills. What would it look like to radically rethink these materials and architecture itself?

In this studio, students will work with experts in living and responsive architecture and visit labs at MIT that are actively working on materials-based research. Students propose ways we can break out of the status quo and create architectural elements that are adaptable and sustainable. We will research designers such as Philip Beesley, who creates ‘living’ sculptures that breath and undulate in response to the environment and the Prairie House in Illinois that uses color-changing cladding technology that darkens and lightens in response to the outside temperature. This studio will explore what it means for a structure to be alive, to have sensory inputs and actuated outputs.


Focus Skills/Subjects/Technologies:


   Architecture + Urban Design


   Digital + Analog Fabrication (Laser-cutting, 3D Printing, Woodworking, Construction)

   3D Modeling

   Social Sciences


  • Enrolling students must be any of the following:
    • High School Student
    • Post-High School Gap Year Student