Architecture in the Making
Architecture as a Making Discipline
and Material Practice

Hydrophyle Prototype Development

Karlsson, Ulrika. Gow, Marcelyn.

Project Contact:
Project Type: Research Project
Project Period: 201201-2013


"Materializing the mathematical, the exact translation of virtual instructions in the form of drawings or codes to their material actualization, is a fundamental procedure in the production of architecture. This exchange between the mathematical and material realms is instantiated through transitions between specified geometries and materials. The research project Hydrophile Prototype Development engages this by focusing on the relationship between technology, matter, energy and biological processes through the design of synthetic architectural systems.

The research explores the roofscape as a site for the development of synthetic architectural systems that are informed by and integrate systems of organic and/or hydrodynamic processes. The research has yielded the full scale prototype, Aqueotrope, exhibited at SCI-Arc, Los Angeles in Spring 2013 and the design and prototyping phase of Vector Interference, a small, multipurpose building project for KTH.

Both projects focus on capturing qualities that would appear to be incongruous to the processes and tools used to generate them, pursuing the apparent vagaries of matter in flux through the use of highly controlled algorithmic and machinic processes. Aqueotrope explores the transformation between states of fluidity and solidity germane to casting. Varying degrees of porosity and surface articulation are coupled with a morphology of protuberant forms to perform as hydrophilic and hydrophobic constituents of a roofscape designed to subtly tamper with atmospheric effects in its specific environment. Vector Interference explores how the use of simple vector techniques and their interfering paths produces mass, void and subdivisions concurrent with the logic of machinic fabrication processes. The resulting cavities and niches provide a rough surface for a biotic roofscape to adhere. The project embraces these corruptions and entropic qualities that produce an eroding effect on the figure of architecture.

This research is undertaken as a collaboration between the design and research practices servo stockholm and servo los angeles.


servo stockholm and servo los angeles are design and research practices. Recent projects include Aquetrope prototype exhibited at SCI-Arc gallery Los Angeles, exhibition design for Bonniers Konsthall, the design of a private residence in Stockholm, and a proposal for a hydrodynamic vegetated roofscape for a university building in Albano, Stockholm. servo’s work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Centre Pompidou, Archilab, Artists Space, MAK Center, Storefront for Art and Architecture and SFMoMA and is in the permanent collections of SFMoMA and the FRAC Centre. Recent publications include a monograph, Networks and Environments and projects in Digital Architecture Now, Hatch and The New Mathematics of Architecture.

Ulrika Karlsson partner and founding member of servo stockholm, received her Architecture degree from Columbia University and her Landscape Architecture degree from the SLU, Alnarp. Karlsson has lectured internationally and contributed to numerous journals including Perspecta, Via, Arkitektur and AD. She is currently a visiting professor at the Royal Institute of Technology - KTH in Stockholm, where she teaches graduate design studio and seminars, and where she previously served as the Director of the Architecture program. Karlsson has also taught at UCLA's Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Karlsson has received several Fine Arts and Research grants

Marcelyn Gow, partner and founding member of servo los angeles, received her Architecture degrees from the Architectural Association, Columbia University, and the ETH Zurich. Her doctoral dissertation Invisible Environment: Art, Architecture and a Systems Aesthetic explores the relationship between aesthetic research and technological innovation. Gow has lectured internationally and contributed to numerous journals including Perspecta, Via and AD. She currently teaches at SCI-Arc and has been a visiting professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Gow has also taught at UCLA and the ETH in Zurich. Gow has received several Fine Arts and Research grants.


BibBase karlsson, u
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  2013 (3)
Archilab 2013. Karlsson, U.; and Gow, M. 2013.
link   bibtex   abstract  
Aqueotrope. Karlsson, U.; and Gow, M. 2013.
link   bibtex   abstract  
Aqueotrope: Architecture Astray. Gow, M.; and Karlsson, U. EVOLO 5. 2013.
link   bibtex  
  2012 (1)
Hydrophile : Hydrodynamic Green Roof. Karlsson, U.; and Gow, M. In Dirt, volume s. 276-283. Dirt Philadelphia : viaBooks, a PennDesign Publication, University of Pennsylvania, The MIT Press, 2012.
Hydrophile : Hydrodynamic Green Roof [link]Paper   link   bibtex  

As part of both the development of the environment and as a means to communicate our activities some of the lectures and seminars arranged are available online. Visit our Youtube-channel here.