Director, Experimental Architecture Group

Rachel Armstrong is Professor of Experimental Architecture at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University. She is Director of the Experimental Architecture Group, a Rising Waters II Fellow with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (April-May 2016), a 2010 Senior TED Fellow and a sustainability innovator who investigates a new approach to building materials called ‘living architecture', exploring how our buildings may share some of the properties of living systems. She is coordinator for the €3.2m Living Architecture project, which is an ongoing collaboration of experts from the universities of Newcastle, UK, the West of England (UWE Bristol), Trento, Italy, the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid, LIQUIFER Systems Group, Vienna, Austria and EXPLORA, Venice, Italy that began in April 2016 and runs to April 2019. It is envisioned as a next-generation, selectively, programmable bioreactor that is capable of extracting valuable resources from sunlight, wastewater and air and in turn, generating oxygen, proteins and biomass. Conceived as a freestanding partition it is composed of bioreactor building blocks (microbial fuel cell, algae bioreactor and a genetically modified processor), which are being developed as standardized building segments, or bricks. Her publications include: Living Architecture: How Synthetic Biology Can Remake Our Cities and Reshape our Lives (TED Books), Vibrant Architecture (DeGruyter Open), Soft Living Architecture: An Alternative View of Bio-informed Practice (Bloomsbury) and Liquid Life: On Non-Linear Materiality.