Pluripotent Structures

square  Full Conference square  Basic Conference

Pluripotent Structures is an investigation into adaptive and variable formal and structural organizations that have more than one possible outcome while maintaining an overall coherence.


In his book Endless Forms Most Beautiful, biologist Sean B. Carroll argues that innovation in body parts is not based on novel genes but rather on the "modification of existing structures and of teaching old genes how to learn new tricks". These tricks, he reasons, are achieved by switching so-called tool-kit genes on and off at different times and places through the course of development. Hence, design expression is less a result of a linear unfolding of pre-existing information as it is based on a much more sensitive, feedback-oriented interaction between a group of intricately networked components. The very same components enable different scenarios relative to their active and passive relationships within the overall system. su11 architecture+design explores novel opportunities that arise when translating these concepts into a parametrically controlled design environment. The firm believes that these ideas hold tremendous possibilities for design research, fabrication techniques and material applications in the field of architecture that go beyond mere questions of optimization and efficiency.

Pluripotent principles, as they maintain developmental plasticity, suggest an alternative scenario for production, one that is based on nonlinearity, reciprocity, and convergence rather than linear causality. In addition, their physical manifestations generate highly sophisticated and delicate structures governed by seemingly limitless degrees of refinement, which result in intricate surface characteristics with exotic atmospheric effects.

Ferda Kolatan+Erich Schoenenberger
su11 architecture+design
165 Elizabeth Street, 4F
New York, New York 10012 USA