Digital-Botanic Architecture (D-B-A) explores physical as well as digital design and architecture based on biological forms—especially plant morphology. Fusing Leibniz’s eighteenth-century metaphysic with Richard Dawkins’ twentieth-century theory of the meme, D-B-A simultaneously interweaves Louis Sullivan’s “botanic architecture,” as developed in his A System of Architectural Ornament, with current design, contending that architecture is a waylaid biological extension of its builders—an extended phenotype, as Dawkins would call it.
Dollens also explores the use of software such as Xfrog in order to grow building elements using the software’s botanic algorithms. In his own work he designs hypothetical structures and building-skins that are realized in digital models, physical stereolithographic models, graphics, and animations: for example, his 2004 spiral bridge (influenced by a seedpod’s spiraling flight and by the biological lattice of the sponge, Euplectella).
D-B-A also considers the work and theory of Duncan Brown’s experimental game spaces and digital architecture. And to this discussion Dollens adds consideration of stem cell sculptures as they relate to the potential for growing buildings and their impact on the larger idea of growing architecture.
D-B-A thus carries Dollens’ investigations well beyond his previous studies—Exodesic, The TumbleTruss Project, D2A: Digital to Analog, and Genetic Architectures / Arquitecturas Genéticas (with Ignasi Pérez Arnal and Alberto Estévez)—to illustrate the hybridizing of philosophical, theoretical, and computational thought and practice in digital design and architecture.
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Dennis Dollens is a research designer and writer living in Santa Fe, NM. He has taught in the Genetic Architecture Program at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Barcelona. His most recent book is "DBA: Digital-Botanic Architecture."
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