The Amoebius Machine is a project I started in my last semester of graduate school at the University of Michigan almost a year ago. It began as an experiment in representational techniques involving both digital and manual strategies converging within the same drawing. The project was started under the guidance of Professor Perry Kulper but unfortunately it went unfinished at the time as my Thesis work took precedence over both this work, and also eating, sleeping... showering.
After graduation I slowly began to come back to the work. Each time I worked on a drawing, the project would become more and more involved until eventually I realized the work had evolved from a representational project into a full-scale architectural proposition.
My intention here is to roll out this work slowly and over multiple posts, as it is very much a work in progress. Each post will try to build up the narrative of the work through both text and representation. In this first post I will attempt to set the stage for the work by outlining the stakes and introduce some "silent partners" who have influenced the work.
The Amoebius Machine
"Modern building has become so universally conditioned by optimized technology that the possibility of creating significant urban form has become extremely limited"
- Kenneth Frampton, Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance
These first words from Frampton's essay on Critical Regionalism were perhaps the starting point for the architectural ambitions of the project. Frampton goes on to establish his six points for combating what he refers to as the "placelessness" of the universally conditioned world. Driven by the economics behind globalization and commercialization, this universally conditioned environment is something which our society seems to be moving closer and closer too. Closer to something Italian architects in the 1960's would have hypothesized about, closer to No-Stop City. It is a future where regionalisms can be substituted for an “Endless Monument” without any resistance.
- Images take from Superstudio
This project proposes an alternative to this universally conditioned future through a new kind of place forming. One which does not turn away from technological advancements but instead embraces technology in an effort to create new architectures informed by, and created from, the current landscape. It is an architecture which is not bound by specific ideologies or economic conditions but rather responsive only to the conditions of the landscape surrounding it. To understand these conditions, the Amoebius Machine is introduced.
The Amoebius Machine is a floating platform which travels across the landscape gathering information about regional typologies, environmental conditions. programmatic needs and other tangible and intangible qualities. Through its extremities the Amoebius Machine is able to collect climate data, soil conditions, air qualities and other environmental factors. These extremities, or sensory nodes, act like exposed nerves which react to the information which is being gathered. In this way the Amoebius Machine is able to learn for the landscape to determine the optimal architecture for the location and it's regional peculiarities. By translating the data it collects the Amoebius Machine is able to both determine was is existing, but more importantly what is needed.
These machines roam aimlessly across the landscape, generating regional profiles from the data it collects. These profiles are site specific and responsive only to the conditions of the land it surveys. Commercial and economic factors are not considered when generating these profiles and because of this there exists an opportunity to create architectural singularities which meet hyper-specific regional requirements.
Part 2 will expand on these ideas and also introduce how the Amoebius Machine uses this data to generate regional architectures.
I am a graduate student and an entrepreneur at the University of Michigan Taubman College where my studies are focused on leveraging design ideas across multiple scales and platforms. Meeting at the intersection between design, tectonics and fabrication, I am continually exploring how a design idea can navigate complex material and production systems and evolve into fully realized architectural artifacts.