Projects Course 2017

Microbial Architecture: Nature Authority

Nature Authority—Bio architecture designed by microorganisms

by Ruobing Hao and Xinwei Du

Nature authority

Who is the real authority in the world? From the anthropocentric perspective, human consider themselves the center of the universe. They consider themselves the most advanced and intelligent entity in the world. Can we go beyond anthropocentrism? Instead of human-centric worldview, we envision a worldview where the real authority comes to nature, which challenges the value of “human-centric” dominance.

From the current human-centric view, human always build habitats for other living organisms, animals live in cages that human build for them. However, is that really reasonable? If we look from the perspective from other living things, what if human live in habitats that designed by other living things?

Nature designs
  • What if microorganisms become designers of the landscape of buildings?
  • How different organisms can work together like designer teams?
Experimentation & Investigation
  • Exploring microbial ecology in buildings and rooms

Handle as a surface medium of microbes exchange: handles are places where human most touch, and places teaming with microorganisms. So we consider using handles as a surface medium of microbes exchange between human and indoor environment.

We collected microorganisms on handles from different rooms: studio, personal flat, and museum.(See Fig.1)

Fig.1 Microorganisms collected from studio, personal flat and museum
  • Collecting and culturing microorganisms in ECA & Evolution house.

First we laser cut the map of each floor of evolution house and ECA on the bottom of each plate.  And pure agar into the plates.(See Fig.2,3&4)

Fig.2 Petri dishes making
Fig.3 Laser-cutting petri dish
Fig.4 Pouring agar into plates

Then we began collecting and inoculating microorganisms on handles of the correlated rooms.(See Fig.5 )

Fig.5 Collecting and inoculating microorganisms on handles

The video shows the making process:

We record the growing process of the microorganisms every day. The following photos are some results of 15 days of growth.(See Fig.6,7,8&9)

Fig.6 15-day results of growth of ground floor of Evolution House
Fig.7 15-day results of growth of first floor of Evolution House
Fig.8 15-day results of growth of ECA
Fig.9 Final result of growth of 6-floor of Evolution House



New landscape designed by microorganisms: We use Illustrator to draw the outline of microbes colonies of different growth time. We choose 15 days’ results, and 5 days as a time interval. So there are 3 layers in total. The map shows on one hand the growing process of the microbes, but the other hand the landscape transition.(See Fig.10&11)

Fig.10 Drawing outlines of colonies by Illustrator
Fig.11 New landscape transition of ECA designed by microorganisms
Fig.12 Comparison of ECA designed by human VS by microorganisms
Fig.13 New landscape of Evolution House (6 floors)
Fig.14 Crazy shape of Evolution House designed by microorganisms
Fig.15 Crazy shape of Evolution House (in light)

We envisioned the whole ECA totally re-designed by microorganisms.(See Fig.16)

Fig.16 Envision of ECA designed by microorganism designers

To conclude, this project speculates a world where human live in habitats that other living things build for them, a world which is no longer dominated by human but totally by other living things, and a total reversal of world’s dominance. It challenges the “human-centric” value, and emphasizes the nature force. It provokes people’s thought about their position and role in the world, and their relationship with nature.

Special thanks to  Larissa Pschetz, Naomi Nakayama, Eric Thorand, Anais Moisy, Bettina Nissen