The tension between mycelia growth and design agency
Updated: Aug 1, 2021
Natalie Alima (BIOLAB/ Rmit)
Natalie Alimas’ PhD research focuses on real-time robotic feedback systems developed between industrial robots, biological materials and computational design. By establishing a direct dialogue between the digital and physical realms, data is extracted from the organism in order to generate algorithmic computational behaviours. This material centric design approach aims to create a new set of highly volatile and strange geometries which are fabricated in real time. Natalie is the creator of BioLab Studios, a design studio taught at both RMIT and Monash University. This research explores mycelia growth in its application to architecture and design.
This research presents techniques in which real-time feedback is developed between industrial robots, biological materials and multi-agent algorithms. By allowing these mediums to act as co-creators within the design process, my research questions what the design implications are when enabling biological growth to contribute to the creation of form. It therefore posits a strategy in which the troubled relationship between architecture, form and nature is being re-exposed in the development of live feedback systems. In order to establish a direct dialogue between the digital and physical realms, data is extracted from mycelium in order to generate algorithmic computational behaviours. Mycelium is therefore enabled to become a co-creator within the design process as its chemical characteristics and patterns of growth dictate computational shape. These forms showcase a new set of highly volatile and strange design tectonics that may only emerge from fusing computational technologies and unrestrained nature until the two become indistinguishable.