Branching Morphogenesis SIGGRAPH


Branching Morphogenesis 08.08

SIGGRAPH 2008 Design and Computation Galleries

Design Team:  Sabin+Jones LabStudio; Jenny E. Sabin & Andrew Lucia in collaboration w/ Peter Lloyd Jones & Jones Lab members. Special thanks to Annette Fierro for critical commentary.

Production Team:  Dwight Engel, Matthew Lake, Austin McInerny, Marta Moran, Misako Murata, Jones Lab members

BRANCHING MORPHOGENESIS IS A SCALED DATASCAPE THAT CAPTURES A CREATIVE PROCESS THAT ENCOMPASSES INTERSECTIONS BETWEEN DESIGN AND SCIENCE. 75,000 ZIP TIES HAVE FILTERED THE FORCE NETWORK EXERTED BY CELLS AT A MICROSCALE. AT ALL STAGES OF THE FILTERING AND SCALING PROCESS, THE NETWORK IS ADJUSTED BY NEW CONSTRAINTS. THE FINAL ARTIFACT IS A SYNTHESIS, A BIOSYNTHESIS, FOR PEOPLE TO INHABIT AND EXPERIENCE.Branching Morphogenesis explores fundamental processes in living systems and their potential application in architecture. The project investigates part-to-whole relationships revealed during the generation of branched structures formed in real-time by interacting lung endothelial cells placed within a 3D matrix environment. The installation materializes five slices in time that capture the force network exerted by interacting vascular cells upon their matrix environment. The time lapses manifest as five vertical, interconnected layers made from over 75,000 cable zip ties. Gallery visitors are invited to walk around and in-between the layers, and immerse themselves within a newly created Datascape fusing dynamic cellular change with human occupation, all through the constraints of a ready-made.The primary function of the lung is to allow for efficient gas exchange between the airways and blood vessels in post-natal life onwards. However, determining how networks of blood vessels are generated and maintained during development represents a major challenge in contemporary lung biology. The aim of this project is to sequentially model the networking process in vitro and in silico, and then to abstract this process into architecture. To approach this, we have studied the parameters that govern branching morphology in response to the underlying extracellular matrix (ECM), and how this alters cell-cell and cell-ECM interactions during networking. We have explored potential parameters that prohibit networking behavior, including intercellular communication, environmental instigators, and cellular geometry.Models borrowed from architects--such as tensegrity structures and geodesic domes--have led to radical new insights into how living systems, including eukaryotic cells, tissues and whole organisms, are assembled and function, as well as to a new understanding of how the microecology of cells influences the genome. Similarly, models borrowed from biology, particularly regarding self- organization and the emergence of complex, non-linear global systems from simple local rules of organization, have led to the discovery of new forms and structural organizations in architectural design. The intent of this project is to jointly investigate fundamental processes in living systems and their potential application in architecture. Through the investigation of controlled and uncontrolled cell tissue biological models, parallel models work to unfold the parametric logic of these biological and responsive systems revealing their deep interior logic. The result is a component-based surface architecture capable of responding dynamically to both environment (context) and to deeper interior programmed systems.