Toronto architect Philip Beesley
has installed a forest of acrylic fronds that move as though breathing inside the Canada pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale
, which opens this week.
The project’s title refers to ‘hylozoism’, the ancient belief that all matter has life. Hylozoic Ground offers a vision for a new generation of responsive architecture. The Hylozoic Ground environment can be described as a suspended geotextile that gradually accumulates hybrid soil from ingredients drawn from its surroundings. Akin to the functions of a living system, embedded machine intelligence allows human interaction to trigger breathing, caressing, and swallowing motions and hybrid metabolic exchanges. These empathic motions ripple out from hives of kinetic valves and pores in peristaltic waves, creating a diffuse pumping that pulls air, moisture and stray organic matter through the filtering Hylozoic membranes. ‘Living’ chemical exchanges are conceived as the first stages of self-renewing functions that might take root within this architecture.