bio.modules.pavilion is an experiential outdoor installation that employs alternative, sustainable materials as a new way to envision the future interactions architecture could have with underlying processes in the environment.
An accelerating amount of information and matter flows daily throughout our lives, shifting our values and perception of the world. With this increase, many details can be lost, and in its place new consumer habits, supply chains or natural processes within our environment can emerge.
To bring attention to this, we invite visitors with this installation to sit down and observe the natural phenomena and processes through tangible means. Ultimately, the same fundamental laws and rules which control nature are ones that drive our system of consumption, production, observation and feedback loops.
The design of our installation is guided by the growing need for more sensitive consumerism and use of alternative materials in the pursuit of a more sustainable built environment.
Each biomodule is composed of a gelatin-based bioplastic, a type of organic biomass. They are supported by a thin layer of biodegradable cork to frame the organic deformation, providing structural support in a codependent relationship. The starting form of each module will be a flat leaflike tile that will then perpetually change shape by contracting and expanding throughout the run of the exhibition depending on the weather conditions in Helsinki.
You will need three things for the base: aluminum foil, oil, and an application brush.
To prevent the bioplastic from sticking onto the aluminum foil, use the brush to spread oil evenly onto the surface. Don't be shy with how much oil you use - a generous amount can go a long way.
Once you've prepared the base, measure the ingredients for the bioplastic. For one batch, you will need:
Glycerin: 5 tsp
Note: We don't recommended making batches larger than this as it will become difficult to stir the formula well. It's best to make multiple small batches rather than one large one.
Now it's time to cook! Put the water in a pot on medium heat. Once it's warm, pour in the gelatin and smoothly stir until it dissolves to avoid creating bubbles and foam. Then, lastly, mix in the glycerin.
Once everything has dissolved, your bioplastic is ready. Let it cool off for a minute and then use a spoon to pour it into your frame. We recommend using a 3mm cork frame for best results.
Let it dry for at least 3-4 hours before gently removing it from the aluminum foil and placing it onto a drying rack.
As a material, bioplastic inherently responds to humidity levels in its environment through hydration and dehydration processes, expanding and contracting based on its internal moisture. Despite the starting shape of each bio-module being two-dimensional, they will be in perpetual change, resulting in unique three-dimensional geometries daily depending on the weather.
Sensitive consumerism and the growing need to shift the current practices within the architecture and construction are imperative in light of the circumstances of today. By utilizing a gelatin-based bioplastic, a natural by-product of the meat and leather industries, we seek to make productive use of all elements within the supply chain, investigating further how both the food and architecture industries could sustainably work closer together in support of a shared goal in the future.
The three architectural frames are an interpretation of classical Doric columns, a foundational element within architecture. As a quintessentially supportive element, the column creates a strong perceptive image of long-lasting durability which is then juxtaposed by the biodegradable, fragile biomodules, which will naturally decompose at the end of their lifecycle. The relation between the two intends to suggest that our built environment could similarly be supported by these unconventional, more sustainable materials in the future.
The bio-modules are hung on each of these segments, fostering an experience of changing translucency as visitors travel through the space. When navigating to its core, visitors are immediately brought into an ethereal and multi-sensorial space where they are also invited to tangibly engage with the bio-modules around them. When observing the landscape through the translucent bio-modules, it presents an entirely different perspective, challenging our existing understanding of what is artificial and what is natural.Acting as an extension of nature itself, the bio-modules are entirely natural in composition, yet formally different from what we have seen before.
Water is our most fundamental resource, yet we are rarely given opportunities to observe its performative nature in our environment. In sunlight, the façade of bio-modules become porous, yet in the rain, they create an impermeable boundary as they flatten with the increased moisture in the air. The ability to witness the both quick and slow reactions of these bio-modules to humidity levels presents us with an experiential moment that speculates how our built environment could more harmoniously and dynamically respond to its surroundings in the future.
Here, the bio-modules are situated within an urban framework, harmoniously juxtaposing the concrete rigidity of the metropolitan fabric. They challenge what the architecture of the future could be like –one that is lively and potent, rather than static and fixed to conventional traditions.
Bringing the bio-modules inside to our climatically controlled environments is another opportunity for reflection. It is questioned to what extent these spaces should be regulated, and how responsive architecture could intrinsically respond to not just atmospheric conditions, but also programmatic needs as well.
As an extension of nature itself, the bio-modules inherently act in complete synergy with the raw landscape and beyond. Yet, when observing the landscape through the translucent bio-modules themselves, it presents an entirely different perspective, challenging our existing understanding of what is artificial and what is natural. The bio-modules are entirely natural in composition, yet formally different from what we have seen before.
We are two emerging designers and recent graduates from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Our shared interest in developing unique spatial experiences has led us to collaborate on many projects in the past with a drive to together continue challenging the potential of space in the future. We strive to keep our work unique and smart, transmitting our research interests into spatial experiences through diverse and dynamic sensorial mediums.
Responsive environments are a core aspect to my design process. With both a background in architecture and new media, I’m always curious to find news ways of merging the two disciplines in unconventional ways.
Solving problems in a systemic manner and designing systems is my biggest passion. My architectural background makes me think of design in a structural and humanistic way, while still believing that everything can become construction elements — material or immaterial.