Symbiotic Architecture by Manas Bhatia: A Self Growing Tower
Project Name: Symbiotic Architecture
Project Architects: Manas Bhatia
Project Location: Fictional
Project Completion Year: Unbuilt
Project Typology: Residential, Architecture
Head Architect In-charge: Manas Bhatia
Architectural Visual Expression: Manas Bhatia
Software Used: Midjourney AI, Adobe Photoshop
Large skyscrapers are soaring high above the ground, often built with conventional materials like steel and concrete. It has been noted that there has been an increasing interest in adopting more organic, sustainable approaches to address the effects of climate change and to establish more direct interactions with nature as a result of climate change. There has been an increase in the importance of adopting a sustainable approach to building design.
The use of the most modern technology, along with exploring the possibilities, is one of the ways to find an alternative material and method. This is the guiding principle behind the ‘Symbiotic architecture’ concept developed by architect and computational designer Manas Bhatia.
The practice of Symbiotic Architecture goes beyond the realm of physical architectural design. Now that he has been working on artificial intelligence and surreal architectural concepts and designs, he aims to understand how patterns are formed in nature, how networks emerge in microbe habitats, and how plants respond to natural stimuli.
“I have always been fascinated by how small insects and creatures create their dwellings in nature. Ants for example create their dwellings with intricate networks in the soil. If humans could create buildings that grow and breathe like plants do, what an amazing world would that be to live in!”, says Manas Bhatia.
A contemporary utopian future has been envisioned for this project that has ‘symbiotic’ architectural apartment towers that resemble giant hollow redwood trees that function in harmony with one another, taking inspiration from the Hyperion tree.
To generate this type of architectural design that is symbiotic, Manas Bhatia uses the AI program Midjourney.
This program took into account a series of text-based prompts provided by the architect, including terms such as ‘giant’, ‘hollowed’, ‘tree’, ‘stairs’, ‘façade’, and ‘plants’, which in response generated an array of images. The prompts were then altered multiple times in an ongoing process to achieve the desired results. This creates a surreal series of apartment buildings that have completely blended in with nature.
The hollowed-out Hyperion trees transform into a ‘breathing’ structure, with apartments facing inwards and letting light pour into space to illuminate the spaces, creating an enchanting, illuminated natural environment.
Even though the surreal designs are not practical at the moment, they offer an opportunity to create a more accurate picture of what could be achieved in the future.
“To give life to such an idea, we’ll have to wait for a long time working our way towards the goal gradually,” Bhatia says, explaining further:
“Currently, I am interested in using these images to try to develop a 3D model using AI and modeling software like Rhino and Grasshopper. That is the first step towards the journey of manifesting this project into reality. Till that time comes, AI will have drastically improved making the entire process much easier than it can be thought of at the moment.”
By leveraging the knowledge of natural systems, new approaches, utilizing the knowledge of biological systems, as well as the advantage of technology, new architectural designs can be created that are more biologically integrated, with endless possibilities. Today’s technology and tools will allow architects and designers to translate their thoughts directly into drawings and 3D models, with more convenience and ease. In the same way as the AI tool Midjourney, the key factor is the selection of words that leads to the outcome desired.
The purpose of this project is to investigate human interactions with nature using artificial intelligence. This architect came up with an idea for a “utopic future” in which buildings won’t be machines made of steel or concrete but rather living structures that can grow and breathe!
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