Emergent Genetic Architecture: How Recent Scientific Theories Are Shaping Contemporary Architecture


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




This interdisciplinary research investigates the ways in which contemporary architectural theory and practice derive from recent scientific theories of emergence, self-organization, complexity, evolution and genetics. Leading architects now design using software that integrates genetic algorithms into the core of their process. Their aim is to incorporate into architecture the sustainable features of self-organizing natural systems, using processes that ultimately may be compatible with genetic engineering. This project situates this movement within architectural history through comparison and contrast with theories of eugenic design within modernism. It thereby raises new questions about the social, cultural, and ethical implications of today’s emergent genetic architecture.