Experimental Architecture: Prototyping Possibilities for an Ecological Era

Public Lecture

Hercus Theatre, Physics building, University of Melbourne

Experimental architecture is a visionary branch of architecture and research practice. It aims to disrupt entrenched architectural conventions and bring about change. The Experimental Architecture Group (EAG) adopts an ethically-informed ‘ecological’ framework, using prototypes to empower the fundamental (human and non-human) diversity that typifies the living world and explore the potential of challenging, ‘wicked’ architectural contexts. This talk will provide an introduction to Experimental Architecture as a discipline and provide examples of projects that embody its principles.

Rachel Armstrong is Professor of Experimental Architecture at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University. Her work investigates a new approach to building materials called ‘living architecture,’ which suggests it is possible for our buildings to share some of the properties of living systems. She is coordinator for the €3.2m Living Architecture project, which is an ongoing collaboration of experts that explores these principles and how they may be applied, from the universities of Newcastle, UK, the West of England (UWE Bristol), Trento, Italy, the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid, LIQUIFER Systems Group, Vienna, Austria and EXPLORA, Venice, Italy. The project began in April 2016 and runs to April 2019.

Rolf Hughes is Director of Artistic Research for EAG. He develops new transdisciplinary practices spanning architecture, art, craft, design, and performing arts. A prose poet, dramatist and theatre director, with a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of East Anglia, Hughes was previously Head of Research and Professor of Artistic Research at Stockholm University of the Arts, and twice elected Vice President of the international Society for Artistic Research. He has been expert advisor and reviewer in artistic research for national research councils in Sweden, Norway, Austria, Italy, Germany and Portugal where he is currently FCT Chair of Arts and Other Humanities Research Funding Panel under the Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education.