Vincent Callebaut
Paris 2007

Further to the acceleration of the demographical evolution and the economical and industrial development of these last decades, the entropic activity is judged responsible of the «global ecological crisis» (for example : the Catarina hurricane, the devastation of the Tsunami, the loss of the biodiversity, the rarefaction of the halieutic resources, the increase of the raw materials or the atmospheric pollution). On the other hand, the human species is also the only one that act consciously and wilfully to try to restore certain global stability such as with the protocol of Kyoto or the local Planning 21 coming from the Earth convention of Rio in 1992. In 1913, Frantisek Kupka, Czech painter and pioneer of the abstract art wrote: “men are the nature awaking of itself.” At the time the planet can not dampen the dissipation of the energy anymore, the men awake finally just before the 21st century of the impact on the environment and on the one of the future generations willing to set up a long lasting/sustainable development.

The mode of functioning of megalopolis based on the waste is in crisis. The territories are slashed, asphyxiated, congested and pauperize their natural biodiversities. As architect and urban architect and in association with ecologists, we have to attempt an acceleration of the natural process of cicatrizing and resilience of the ecosystems by pluridisciplinary techniques of ecological engineering. Faced with the depletion of the natural resources, the destruction of the ecosystems, the reduction of the biodiversity, the pollution of the water, the concentration of the greenhouse effect gas and the global warming, the renewable energies (solar, thermal and photovoltaic energies, wind driven energy, hydraulic, osmotic, geothermal, tidal thermo-station, tidal power energy, biomass, fuel cells) and biotechnologies (bio-mimicry, physio-structure, phylo remediation, bio-remediation, genetic) are effective tools to re-naturalise the next Ecopolis.

Researching the human nature, the underlying objective is to intensify the ability of the architectural project to improve the environment, to protect it, and even to restore the biodiversity. This is to enable to reimburse and to stabilise our ecologic debt by minimising the human print and to do so that the nature can be more spontaneous and significant on the concerned site. In this framework, the main raw material of the architect is the living as dynamic and functional element of his construction. He can then tend to positive eco-compatibility of the building in the ecosystem by producing itself oxygen and electricity, by recycling CO2 and waste, by purifying the water and by integrating the ecologic alcoves or organic corridors to feed and house the fauna and the flora naturally present or passing.

It deals thus not only to design inhabitable spaces for the mankind but also to create natural or artificial biotopes suitable to the local context by inviting the biodiversity to develop its fauna and flora around humps, cavities, crevasses, shadow, sun, damp areas, herbaceous stratums, suspended gardens or organic spaces or other complex areas. Surrounded by birds, mammals, amphibians, insects, flowers, grass, trees and shrubs, the architect must be able to rethink the spatial complexity of his projects and also imagine the new process of auto-maintenance and management at minima for the inhabitants of these new built ecosystems.


Parallel to the research of new architectural prototypes with positive energy and positive biodiversity, i.e. producing more energy or biodiversity that they consume, we face with a global world in which the transmission of the information encounters a quasi fictional implosion. Without any worldwide governance, everyone has access through a ramified, open, flexible chaos and changing to a powerful set of data from anywhere on the globe. Whereas the humanity wishes a renaturalised real world that develops itself durably, it gives itself body and soul by schizophrenic reaction in an endless virtual abyss controlling each daily gesture of the world-citizen. The civilisations are in continuous interactivity, crossbreeding themselves, demultiplying themselves, hybridizing themselves under new identities. The world is a global village electronically linked by a unique brain, the Internet, true nervous centre of the Earth human being. Mass media via the World Wide Web, wikis, instantaneous electronic mail, re-localization, eclosion of the individual innovations, spatio-temporal acceleration, electronic trade, social navigation, disinhibition of the personalities, remote work by Transmission Control Protocol are the new themes of our architect generation born in the heart of the Cyberculture and the Cyberspace.

«The mankind and its safety must constitute the first concern of all the technologic adventure» said Albert Einstein. Regarding the architectural adventure, the NICT enable to manipulate the information by the software and hardware so as to generate, twist, pollute, abstract the complex but interactive geometries with the biocoenosis (communities of human beings) and the biotopes (geologic, pedologic, atmospheric environment). So as to improve the development of the life, the nervous system constituted by the NICT enables then to constitute a mode of parameters between the building, the information and the ecologic context. Science and awareness, body and spirit are thus associated.


The association in architecture of the living (Bios) and the NICT (New Technologies of the Information and the Communication) can reach the antique chinese thought that always refuse to separate the nature of the humanity that nourishes itself, the body and the spirit that would not exist without it. The Chinese thought holds the relationship as more important than the disjointed elements. The human and its life framework depend on these variables : «The Chinese people see in the time and space only opportunities and sites. These are interdependences, solidarities that constitute the order of the Universe. We do not think that the man can form a reign in the nature or that the spirit distinguishes itself from the matter. Noone opposes the human and the natural and think to oppose them such as the free and the determinate.» (Marcel Granet, La pensée chinoise, 1934).

The application of the sciences and the technologies in the architectural field enables us to design new prototypes of intelligent and interactive buildings as naturally as electronically. The architecture becomes a biotechnological remedy to the global ecologic crisis, a living interface connecting the man and the nature. The architectural projects in this monography study thus organic systems for the development of non organic or organically modified systems able to have technologic applications. They study the life with the objective of understanding the functioning mechanisms of the living and scalable beings so as to be able to apply them to the human creations in a determined ecosystem. They follow generative rules defined on the base of algorithms coming from more or less complex geometries. These projects are organised around three reflection poles :

The Land Arch : is a transposition in Architecture of the metamorphosis of the « Earthworks », these furtive and ephemeral alterations of the landscape linking the art to the nature and designed by the artists of the Land Art conducted by Robert Smithson, leader of this movement. The Land Arch represents thus the third step of the worldwide urban evolution. Actually, after having built the city on the landscape, and then the city on the city, it’s now the time for the landscape to be built on the city! In this perspective, all the buildings and the infrastructure network are considered as abstractions of the geographies and ecosystem distortions. The projects presented in this first chapter are natures built from the living! The Ecopolis renaturalize themselves spontaneously leading to phenomenons of auto-integration and bio-integration between the human being and the landscapes.

The Interactive Matrix : is the result of the evolution of the abilities of calculation and setting up in network of the information. The architect receives the new role of designing the spaces of parallel life in a realistic, parameterized virtuality working in real time in a crossed time-space with the reality and in a reformatted nature-culture ratio. Equipped with an invisible numeric infrastructure, the citizen act becomes more important by generating new modes of participative democracies. The «Socrates» of today can liberate them from the sensitive world to reach the world of ideas by offering themselves a tribune, a space of freedom and expression. Everyone faces with its duty of public responsibility and this is the future spatiality of this worldwide forum that the projects of this second chapter try to imagine !

The Growing Process : The massive urbanisation is one of the major effects in the beginning of the 21st century and its control is essential to manage the ecologic print. Equipped with informative, technical and conceptual means, will the architect become the programmer of spatial shapes of growth and associated interactive process? The development of dynamic model-building coupled with the integration abilities of geographical information systems (SIG) seems to envisage it. The projects of this third chapter try by the development process to merge with the growth process of living organisms that are of animal, vegetable or mineral nature. The final state of a project or a master plan becomes thus unforeseeable, as its spatial configuration is opened and in constant evolution. The project is not formal anymore but in process! And this process is unstable, misbalanced, flowing, multidirectional, genetically codified and ecologically readapted.

Around these three themes of conception and on the thesis, the Ecopolis of tomorrow will build themselves durably by the possible merge of the sciences of the nature and the technology, the projects of the agency Vincent Callebaut Architectures design new prototypes of green and sustainable architectures tending to a right balance of our human actions on our environment!

The only mean is to create connexions between the disciplines to exchange knowledge. Towards a convergence with the shapes, the structures and the organisations of the living, the architect and the engineer analyse ever since the nature by combining its models. From the light and solid structure of the giant lily pad «Victoria regia», to the squishy ideally hydrodynamic structure of the dolphin absorbing the pressure variations due to the turbulences, passing by the network of hexagons perfectly nested and optimising the available space by a light solidity of beehives, the builders are the organic makers.

Looking for the nature of the man, in the continuation of the bionic, the «physionic» concept developed by the professor André Giorgan enables to «take from the matter of thought» on the complexity, the incertitude and the organisation through the knowledge of the living : «A new discipline appears, the “physionic” that overruns the simple imitation of the natural shapes. Its principle: dissect systematically the mechanisms producing or making evolve the structures of the living (cells of the ecosystems). Its objective: understand how the global unity retroacts on its components and makes good use of these interactions to design otherwise the functioning of a human organisation».

By the convergence of the living world and the technological world imposing a cultural change on the base of complex alchemies, the architect changes into a « savant-adventurer’ » of a planetary garden in a Professor Cuthbert Calculus. From the Land Arch to the Growing Process passing by the Interactive Matrix, the Archibiotics of Vincent Callebaut Architectures boost and cares the urban ecosystems to a new balance of the life continuously in mutation!

Extract text from the architectural monograph "ARCHIBIOTIC, VINCENT CALLEBAUT", Beijing Office - AADCU Editions, Beijing 2008, China,p.16-21