Sure, robots can make our architecture for us, but could robots ever be our new architecture? Despite conjuring images of every haunted house movie ever made, (happy upcoming Halloween, everyone!), “responsive architecture” explores the potential for the built environment to automatically respond to changing conditions—and, it’s on its way. Literally—it’s coming toward you.
With the whimsy of Theo Jansen's creatures, but the brains of a (small) computer, these “Morphs” (MObile Reconfigurable PolyHedra) are much more than just mobile park sculptures, and actually provide a proposition for a smart architectural alternative. Programmed for self-preservation (modeled after the Physarum polycephalum slime mould), the forms are “responsive spatial structures which communicate between them and their users in order to perform collective tasks,” i.e. they are moving, social, creatures that you can also use for shelter.
We recently happened upon this interview with the creator, William Bondin, who spoke eloquently on the significance of his project , which came out of a unit headed by Ruairi Glynn and Ollie Palmer. These charming beings fit into a growing field of responsive architecture that includes not only the work of the instructors of the course (Ruairi Glynn was responsible for the beautiful Fearful Symmetry exhibition at the Tate Modern in 2012), but also great things by people like Tristan d'Estree Sterk of ORAMBRA.