Rachel Armstrong is a Professor at Newcastle University in experimental architecture, and a visiting professor at KU Leuven. The theme of her work is the transition from an industrial era of architectural design to an ecological one as a fundamental change in the impacts of human development on our health and how we live. Drawing together the fields of architectural design, natural and medical sciences, she calls the synthesis that occurs between them “living” architecture where constructions share some of the properties of organisms. This simultaneously ecological, technological, and humanistic practice considers the implications for designing and engineering in a world thrown off balance. By developing “living” technologies, which apply the characteristics of biological systems to perform work, she proposes new standards for sustainable living. Bringing living technologies into proximity with architecture and design, she aims to radically change the impacts of human inhabitation on the environment, so our lifestyles have a net benefit on living systems.
Rachel challenges perceptions, presumptions and established principles around the building blocks of life and society. She creates open innovation platforms for academia and industry to address environmental challenges such as being coordinator for the Horizon 2020 Living Architecture project (2016-2019) and the Active Living Infrastructure: Controlled Environment (ALICE) prototype (2019-2021) to generate new approaches to sustainable design.
She has an optimistic, critical and ethical view of our relationship with technology, which she considers to be the way that our ideas are embodied and implemented. Core to her practice is the belief that new ways of thinking can drive innovation and generate technology that can help us overcome seemingly impossible problems to create a better future for ourselves.
Rachel Armstrong is Professor of Experimental Architecture at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University. She is a Rising Waters II Fellow with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (April-May 2016), Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and a 2010 Senior TED Fellow. She is Director and founder of the Experimental Architecture Group (EAG) whose work has been published widely as well as exhibited and performed at the Venice Art and Architecture Biennales, the Tallinn Architecture Biennale, the Trondheim Art Biennale, the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), the Institute of Advanced Architecture, Catalonia (IAAC), Aarhus Kuntshal, the University of the Underground (Amsterdam), The Gallatin School, New York University, Allenheads Contemporary Arts, and Culture Lab at Newcastle University.