WIT Press

Dendritic malformation: A case study on adaptable tectonic systems


Free (open access)


Volume 10 (2015), Issue 1



Page Range

40 - 49

Paper DOI



WIT Press




Departing from an understanding that our society’s most acute architectural dilemma is its indefinite urban augmentation in an otherwise limited Natural context, the Dendritic Malformation research proposes to develop the complex relationships between form, space, structure, materiality and the senses, as a proposition for future modes of inhabiting and constructing the built environment. Our cities are the major conduit for global consumption of energy, air and water. The buildings we live in are the main pollutants throughout their entire life span: fabrication of building components, construction, occupation and demolition. While there is a large body of research dedicated to building green and sustainable, little attention is paid to the potential of building components as adaptive, transformative structures, which are responsive to their environment in that they adapt in shape and function to the immediate context. This involves reciprocity within the various components of a building, allowing for one element to incrementally and fluidly mutate to become another, similarly to how nature produces malformations during its natural selection process. Structure, for example, could serve multiple functions by incorporating various programmatic necessities, and through a formal and functional cross polli- nation of uses and performances could fluidly propagate to engage the interior (building envelope) and exterior (landscape) of the built environment. Within this context, Dendritic Malformation challenges the preconceived notion that architectural structure needs to be discontinuous, monotonous, rigid, protected behind thermal barriers and separated from its surroundings. Dendritic mutations are malleable solutions of responsive systems with a variegated ordered inspired by the self-organizing processes of nature.



Adaptive architecture, design agency, tectonic crisis.