This kind of innovative practice may seem geared toward the future of architecture, rather than the more material concerns of building in the present, but these research experiments are beginning to be translated into built form. In Seoul, South Korea, The Living created a permanent pavilion, called Living in Light, which translates air quality data in various parts of the city into an illuminated map. Residents can also inquire about air quality in their neighborhood by text message. Inquiries register on the map as blinking light. “It becomes a gauge of public interest in environmental issues and in various parts of the city,” he said.
In the East River at Pier 35, The Living is working on a related project they are calling Amphibious Architecture. A 200-foot-long floating grid of lights marks pollution levels in the river, with blue indicating improved water quality and red indicating poor conditions. White lights glinting through the grid denote the presence of fish.
The Living will get its largest public showing to date this summer with their courtyard pavilion for MoMA/PS 1. The studio is also developing a new building for the School of Architecture at Princeton University, which could translate some of this research into built form: the Laboratory of Embodied Computation. “The project is right in line with our way of thinking,” said Benjamin. “It builds an architecture out of an idea, a test.”