Architecture against death

Architectural features that promote death resistance


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About the project Edit

Since 1963, artists-architects-poets Arakawa and Madeline Gins have worked in collaboration to produce visionary, boundary-defying art and architecture. They have declared their “intention not to die.”

To that end, they’ve created architectural features that promote“death resistance” by requiring people to navigate unsettling, disorienting, and dangerous but whimsical spaces.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Arakawa and Madeline Gins's work, based loosely on a movement known as "transhumanism," is premised on the idea that people degenerate and die in part because they live in spaces that are too comfortable. The artists' solution: construct abodes that leave people disoriented, challenged and feeling anything but comfortable.

They build buildings with no doors inside. They place rooms far apart. They put windows near the ceiling or near the floor. Between rooms are sloping, bumpy moonscape-like floors designed to throw occupants off balance.

These features, they argue, stimulate the body and mind, thus prolonging life.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

Architecture against death is the design of space that forces people to think carefully about where and how they move through it – at the very least, an interesting way of promoting alertness. In these spaces, people therefore feel less bored, depressed, and more activated. The fundamental subject of this type of architecture is staying alive, coming alive to and staying alive to.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

For now, the Bioscleave House is the first work of procedural architecture built in the United States. It will operate as an interactive laboratory of everyday life. It is 2,700 square feet in the East Hampton, New York and was completed in 2008.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

In 1987 Arakawa and Gins founded the Reversible Destiny Foundation (formerly named the Architectural Body Research Foundation) as a coordinated means of engaging The Mechanism of Meaning’s theoretical implications and call to reinvent our species through works of procedural architecture.

Architectural projects have included residences (Reversible Destiny Houses, Bioscleave House, Shidami Resource Recycling Model House), parks (Site of Reversible Destiny-Yoro) and plans for housing complexes and neighborhoods (Isle of Reversible Destiny-Venice and Isle of Reversible Destiny-Fukuoka, Sensorium City, Tokyo).

What is the business model of this project? Edit

The business model of this project is not known.

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