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Living Architecture: How Synthetic Biology Can Remake Our Cities and Reshape Our Lives (Kindle Single) (TED Books) [Kindle Edition]

Rachel Armstrong
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

What will the city of the future look like? More like an ever-changing and vibrant garden than a static set of buildings and blocks. In 'Living Architecture,' British scientist and architect Rachel Armstrong re-imagines the world’s extensive urban areas and argues that in order to achieve sustainable development of the built environment — and help countries like Japan recover from natural disasters — we need to start thinking differently. Armstrong sets the scene for considering different ways of making structures and materials, suggesting that we can ‘grow’ more ecologically compatible buildings by using life-like technologies, such as protocells. The result is a new kind of architectural practice where cities behave more like an evolving ecosystem than lifeless machines.


Product Details

  • File Size: 297 KB
  • Print Length: 51 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0076QQJMY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,249 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Villagers in remote Cherrapunji India build footbridges by training root tendrils from trees that are members of the banyan family to span rocky gullies and gorges. The living bridges can reach 30 meters. They're permanent and strong enough for 50 people to cross at a time.

The root bridges of Cherrapunji are a primitive example of living architecture, using nature and bio-mechanisms to design and build without relying on traditional industrial, machine-manufactured processes. Living architecture offers a bold, futuristic vision that sounds like science fiction but according to the author is a fresh idea that despite many challenges is eminently workable, and represents a practical way to reclaim and sustain our environment.

"Living Architecture" is Armstrong's blueprint for attaining that new, audacious vision.

In order to grasp the concept of living architecture, you need to understand "protocells," which are the building blocks of the new living materials and methodologies that might supplement and even supplant existing design and manufacturing methods.

Protocells are not living molecules. They don't contain DNA and can't reproduce. But they can be "created" by combining natural chemicals and substances (oil mixed with an alkaline solution, for example) and they do have properties such as the ability to organize themselves into microstructures. They exhibit behaviors such as movement and sensitivity to biological or chemical elements and light, for example.

In a big "What-If" Armstrong asks what if we could employ to protocell principles to stabilize one of the "most ferociously unstable" places on the planet - Venice, which is crumbling from the corrosive effects of being assaulted for three centuries by the forces of nature.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could be much better July 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am interested in living architecture and megacities so was looking forward to reading this. I've read a few articles on both topics prior. And learned much more from those articles than this book. The writing in this book is pretty tedious. Seems more like a first draft and could use a good editor. The info itself isn't very cohesive either, or actually saying much at all; except maybe a very basic overview. All in all, this book is more like a psuedo sci-fi daydream with a few impressions of examples. Probably worth the $2, but you get what you pay for in this case.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On Living Architecture February 8, 2012
By Ben
Format:Kindle Edition
Living Architecture was written in the wake of the recent devastating Japanese tsunami and reflects on some of the architectural practices that underpin modern urban development. It asks the question 'why do we, as living creatures inhabit things that are not alive?' and sets the scene for fundamentally different ways of making structures and materials. New possibilities are discussed in the context of recent scientific developments. `Living technology' is a set of new technologies whose performance lies somewhere between machines and biology. As such, they blur the distinction between living and non-living processes as well as challenge the separation assumed to exist between a building and its natural environment. Living Architecture proposes a new relationship for urban development where people work in concert with and orchestrate the forces of nature using living technology to create new architectural outcomes. The proposed approaches are compatible with ecologically engaged practices such as, Panarchy, Permaculture and Biomimicry and takes a multi-systems view of Living Architecture at many scales of operation ranging from the micro scale, to the city. Living Architecture is at an early stage of development but its speculative approach is based on real world experiments, which are also discussed in this book. Additionally Living Architecture reflects on a possible alternative scenario for the devastated Sendai coastal region should the potential of living architecture be fulfilled, which takes the form of a short science fiction story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living Architecture - the next revolution in making February 7, 2012
By Ben
Format:Kindle Edition
Living Architecture has a mission - to set the scene for fundamentally different ways of making structures and materials. The aim is to `grow' more ecologically compatible buildings by using life-like technologies. The result is a new kind of architectural practice where cities behave more like an ecosystems than machines. Living Architecture was written in the wake of the recent devastating Japanese tsunami and asks 'why do we, as living creatures inhabit things that are not alive?'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Review, but no concrete ideas or depth September 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An interesting review of some current thinking on biologically based architecture. It doesn't seem very coherent, nor does it give many specific details as to the "how this could be achieved." I often had the impression that I was reading a college capstone paper. It's a small cost if you are interested in the subject matter, however.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Living Architecture is the future November 10, 2013
By nate
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book opens up a wonderful view of architecture and the possibilities and benefits of using living material to build, rather than inert objects, such is also so wonderfully possible I am convinced that synthetic biology is going to be playing an amazingly vital role in our lives in the next few years, I can hardly imagine how great the things we can have will be, houses and buildings that take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, maybe living carpets that clean themselves, and maybe emit a pleasant and fresh smell, a building that can react not only to the environment around it but to you, that can heal itself. This is not just the key to sustainability but it can also solve amazing engineering marvels, the floating cities of the future not only can be created but should be, with the living protocells. I could go on forever but I highly recommend this book.

It is an easy read and explains almost everything you need to know, check out Regenisis as well for more on Synthetic Biology
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Building the cities of the future
Interesting if somewhat speculative discussion of how synthetic biology (primarily protocells, chemically programmable systems that respond to changes in their environment in... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Dave Versace
5.0 out of 5 stars All Hope, applied practically and without arrogance
This is a brilliant presentation of where our society ought to be headed in the wake of an ever changing world. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jessica Pugh
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Great primer to what can be done with architecture, and where building technology should go. I especially enjoyed the futuristic description of what the human-built environment... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected
Gee, now I'm not sure I remember much of what I read so I'll stick with the concepts. I was interested in the plans for future development, a combined human and nature blending,... Read more
Published on September 7, 2012 by K. Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting and bold perspective on architecture
I found the book to have a fresh and bold perspective on what architecture might be moving towards in terms of developing around organic forms and biomaterials
Published on August 19, 2012 by EDUARDO VALENCIA R
5.0 out of 5 stars Living Architecture
Getting us ready for a future that is coming at us way too fast. Consider living inside a living thing. (Remember Jonah?) Consider your outside responding to your inside. Read more
Published on May 12, 2012 by Tirrill Leslie Mehana
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