In the challenging context of accelerating climate dynamics, the core discipline of architectural design is evolving and embracing new forms of action. New York-based nonprofit Terreform ONE has established a distinctive design tactic that investigates projects through the regenerative use of natural materials, science, and the emergent field of socio-ecological design. This kind of design approach uses actual living matter (not abstracted imitations of nature) to create new functional elements and spaces. These future-based actions are not only grounded in social justice, but are also far-reaching in their application of digital manufacturing and maker culture. Terreform ONE tackles urgent environmental and urban social concerns through the integrated use of living materials and organisms.
Mitchell Joachim and Maria Aiolova, founders of Terreform ONE, describe their practice through various projects and prolific research that has made significant impact to what is increasingly recognized as socio-ecological design. Together they achieve an abundant collection of projects that validate these unique experimental methods, including the Monarch Sanctuary, a new urban building type to protect butterflies from extinction; Cricket Shelter and Farm, a series of modular volumes for harvesting alternate forms of insect protein; and biodegradable structures called Mycoform that invokes principles of synthetic biology to prototype 100% compostable furniture. Design with Life documents this growing body of work and outlines an original direction for a changing discipline, reviewing concepts at a range of scales for metropolitan areas. In an age where speed is everything, Terreform ONE reveals how future architecture and urban design practices can cultivate biological processes and create resilient answers to tomorrow's wicked problems.