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BK Talks: A Planet of Bodies

17/11/2022 | 18.00 - 20:00 | Online/TuDelft, Delft

On 17 November, I took part in the BK Talks 'A planet of bodies: Human and other physiques at the intersection of nature and design'. It was an invigorating conversation on/with/about architectural bodying, together with Andrej Radman, Stavros Kousoulas, Lila Athanasiadou, Robert Gorny and Sonia de Jager. The recordings are available on youtube.

A Planet of Bodies

Traditionally, the relationship between the human body and space has been a key element in design and practice, with authors placing an anthropometric scale at the centre of their design principles. The Modulor by Le Corbusier is perhaps the most (in)famous one, highly criticized for its focus on proportions and dimensions of the ‘average’ white male body. More recently, ‘Passive House’ design allows rooms to be heated by human bodily metabolism alone, whereas 3D scanning technologies used by the fashion industry or artificial intelligence advancements in tracking movement and leveraging spatial data keep provide us with new approaches to the relationship between space and the human body.

Beyond the technology-driven set of solutions used to measure the behavior of the human body, seemingly furthering the tradition of separating the body and the mind, this edition of the BK Talks, moderated by Andrej Radman, aims to reflect upon whether we are missing something else. Do we know what our body needs or what our body can do? How can a better understanding of our body contribute to our architecture, the city and the planet? Do we consider other (non-human) bodies in our designs? Can design create environments in which the senses of living bodies are transformed? Should design act more as a guide directing when, where or how bodies behave or, rather, should bodies truly dictate the design of the spaces we create? How can automation, nanomaterials, robotics, biotechnology, or biomimicry stablish new relationships amongst humans and all other living organisms?

This year we will most likely reach eight billion human bodies on our planet. This sheer number of human bodies and all the stuff we make and use represent a challenge to our environment. But let us not forget that we share this planet with almost nine million other species; in other words, with countless of other bodies. The BK Talks A Planet of Bodies, is an invitation to ponder upon the human bodies and other bodies who need to be treated as individual agents with specific needs and capacities: a call for participation to those interested in envisioning truly body (any kind of body)-based adaptable design.

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