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Albertina Lourenci  

architect, Brazil

Albertina Lourenci, 2002
in the Netherlands.
In October 2002 I completed three years of post-doctorate research on generating sustainable cities by computer in Sao Paulo on a FAPESP (Foundation of Protection for Research in Sao Paolo State) fellowship. I started studying architecture in 1972 and have continued studying this alongside a study in biological sciences.

The generator's main properties
1) Respect the client's requirements, needs and wishes because it simulates the ecology of the human being along the life-cycle.
2) Architectural design is understood as consisting of a successive multitude of inner and outer parts that shape a whole.
3) Respect the artist's cognitive processes because it not only enables you to design a free plan but it also enables the designer to express him/herself.
My approach to architecture leads to buildings that behave like living organisms when built. For example, a home that generates its own energy, is controlled by computer.

With this system you can design for all strata of society for the whole world. For example you can design walls with various layers with varying capacity to store and isolate heat for all climates of the world. This is calculated by differential equations in this generator which is more efficient and healthier than standard air conditioning.

I am influenced by the Finnish organic architect, Alvar Aalto, who built the Boston M.I.T. dormitory. This building not only follows the curves of the river to make the most of the views but also satisfies the students' needs. It cost as much to make as the buildings designed by Le Corbusier which are uninhabitable and have inspired standard mass housing around the world.

My geometric modelling is inspired by the tesselations of the graphic work of the Dutch artist, Maurits Escher. For instance, if we are designing an apartment for middle-class single people, we don't start with the floor plan. We begin by looking at the activities of sleeping, eating, washing, studying and so on. These activities involve furniture and fittings and require space: we lay out the furniture to mimic the daily ecology of human behaviour. Then 'dress' the lay-out with an unexpected shape! This apartment has a balcony 8 metres long, and shelves up to thirteen metres long in the living room. It is planned for someone who wants to integrate the activities totally. The alternative would be to isolate some activities, as in two-story apartments, or to have semi-integrated activities.

A tiling or tessellation is a set of figures that fill the plane without overlapping or leaving voids between them. Figures on a plane may be rotated, reflected and/or translated. Escher found that there are seventeen different ways of making arrangements in the plane through these basic geometric transformations. An architectural plan fills the plane with furniture and landscape.
M. C. Escher's tilings. A tiling is a set of figures that fill the plane without overlapping or leaving voids between them. Crystallographic group p3m1, generated by three reflections in the sides of an equilateral triangle where the fundamental region consists of half a bird, half a fish and half a lizard. All M.C. Escher works 2002 Cordon Art - Baarn- Holland. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Design by Albertina Lourenci, in which the plan for each appartment is generated by mimicking the ecology of the human behaviour in daily activities. The floor plan of these singles' apartments are fitted together in ways that avoid ugly long corridors, inspired by Escher's tiling of two rotations of 90 degrees.

The design system aims to fulfill Baha'u'llah's vision of unity in diversity and equality for all. It respects biodiversity in the environment. For example, cement production creates carbon dioxide, so you should only design in concrete near large areas of forestry to absorb this, so that this is an integrated biosystem. If you build in concrete in a city, then the outcome is global warming.
So if you design in concrete you should research the implications of using the material on the environment, just as much as you would if building with bamboo or (adobe) mud. In general bamboo rots easily and the curing process is very expensive and so with our current technology bamboo is not sustainable.

I want to find an international non-governmental organization to work with to start motivating people to gather in groups to build sustainable cities. I am also working with computer scientists to develop a prototype based on an object-oriented knowledge system. I have always worked in a multi-disciplinary context. For example, since 1998, I have been developing my system in the laboratory of integrated systems at the polytechnic school, in the University of Sao Paolo. This is very unusual for an architect anywhere in the world.

Music has the nature of play (the random element) and so I am working on creating a system of architectonic scales and chords using a keyboard connected to a multimedia computer to create an interactive organic system.

There is more information about my work at:
  • Article + illustration: Just Let the Wind, 2005

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