MUTANT BODY

Design Studio | Master’s Course | The University of Newcastle, Australia | 2014

Course Coordinator: Yannis Zavoleas

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This studio aims to expand the body’s performative behaviors as these are manifested in its structure and logic, also in its relations among the parts and the metabolic functions directing its form. A found body is scrutinized through processes of analysis and then it is given new meanings through a series of transformations aiming to tie it to a new context. Analysis involves tracing literal and metaphorical meanings about the body, as these are later used as semantic tools to define architectural space and form. The list of references includes – but not limited to – behaviours associated with the body such as structure, symbiosis, prosthetics, trauma, deformation, anatomy, skin, covering/revealing, flows and actions.

Found Body Vs. Mutant Body

A found body is viewed as a weak topology whose inherent properties are rediscovered and reenacted, in so doing showing multiple potentials for rejoining with a new context. The body is an organic entity that constantly adapts to its environment for its survival. Adaptation involves dynamic exchanges between the body and its environment, expressed in the form of energy transformation and negotiation of different systems sharing the same resources. Due to adaptation, the body is constantly subject to mutation causing the emergence of new species.

The mutant body talks about systems whose overall characteristics and behaviour are addressed in relation to internal processes as well as to the environment. Systems, geometric shapes, patterns and other typological references may be viewed as dynamic entities. Mutation aids to understand the properties of architectural space as changing values that reflect upon different scenarios, described by relational rules. Properties become variants holding the body’s propensity to initiate coalitions, hybridizations and unprecedented mixtures. As with the organisms, the principles of form may be codified into a DNA-like code. Architecture’s code is set in response to multitude factors, causing structural transformations, mixed-use programs, typological variations and associations at different scales. Implementation, adaptation, local alterations due to changing conditions, all of these may be viewed as outcomes of negotiation between architectural species and their environment. An understanding of architecture as a mutant body helps to break from unnecessary preconceptions, in an attempt to reconcile between its generative causes and the final form.

 

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