IAAC Round Table – Edible; Or, the Architecture of Metabolism

Moderators: Areti Markopoulou, Lydia Kallipoliti

Presenters: Mae-ling Lokko, Richard Ballard

Date: Tuesday, December 1st, 19:30 (CEST)

Watch the Replay on: FACEBOOK or YOUTUBE

Location: Online – Zoom

Round Table Topic

Edible; Or, the Architecture of Metabolism is the topic selected for the forthcoming Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB 2022) exploring architectural strategies for urban food production and integrating operations that use by-products of urban life into the built environment, replacing traditional linear systems with circular models that limit material and resource loss.

The appointed Head Curators of the TAB 2022 Areti Markopoulou and Lydia Kallipoliti will be discussing with guest panelists Mae-Ling Lokko and Richard Ballard on alternative forms of urban farming and on processes of upcycling food waste for the creation of healthy building materials. The wider discussion will include reflections on the urgency of productivity in cities, the challenges and opportunities for circular design and upcycling and the geopolitical implications of food production, distribution and consumption. New “farm to fork” and “waste to matter” strategies will be presented alongside the possibilities of local self-sufficiency and, among others, the role of technology in the above.

About The Speakers

Areti Markopoulou

Areti is IAAC’s Academic Director, a Greek architect, researcher and urban technologist working at the intersection between architecture and digital technologies. She also leads the Advanced Architecture Group, a multidisciplinary research group exploring how design and science can positively impact and transform the present and future of our built spaces, the way we live and interact. Her research and practice seeks to redefine architecture as a performative “body” beyond traditional notions of static materiality, approximate data, or standardized manufacturing.

Areti is founder and principal of the multidisciplinary practice Design Dynamics Studio, and co-editor of Urban Next, a global network focused on rethinking architecture through the contemporary urban milieu. She is the project coordinator of a number of European Research funded Projects on topics including urban regeneration through technologies and multidisciplinary educational models in the digital age.

Lydia Kallipoliti

Lydia is an architect, engineer, scholar and educator whose research focuses on the intersections of architecture, technology and environmental politics. She is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Cooper Union in New York, while previously she has taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she was the Director of the Master of Science Program, Syracuse University, Columbia University and Pratt Institute.

Kallipoliti is the author of The Architecture of Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit (Lars Muller, 2018), as well as the History of Ecological Design for Oxford English Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. Her work has been exhibited in a number of international venues including the Venice Biennial, the London Design Museum, the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Shenzhen Biennial, the Royal Academy of British Architects, the Oslo Trienalle and the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York. Kallipoliti is the recipient of awards including a Webby Award, grants from the Graham Foundation, and the New York State Council for the Arts, an Honorable Mention at the Shenzhen Biennial, a Fulbright scholarship, a Fulbright Scholarship, the ACSA annual award for Creative Achievement and an Award for Unbuilt Interiors from the Architect’s Newspaper. She is the principal of ANAcycle thinktank , awarded as a Leading Innovator in Sustainable Design from BUILD’s 2019 and 2020 awards. She holds a Diploma in Architecture and Engineering from AUTh in Greece, a Master of Science from MIT and a PhD from Princeton University. With Areti Markopoulou, she the Head Co-Curator of the upcoming Tallinn Architecture Biennale.

Mae-ling Lokko

Mae-ling Lokko is an architectural scientist and building technology researcher from Ghana and the Philippines whose work centers on the upcycling of agrowaste and biopolymer materials. As an Assistant Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Director of the Building Sciences program, her research aims to co-develop new upcycling business models between the Global North and South and evolve material life cycle design criteria to meet generative justice criteria. Her work was nominated for the Visible Award 2019, Royal Academy Dorfman Award 2020 and she was a finalist for the Hublot Design Prize 2019. Lokko’s recent projects has exhibited globally at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2019), Radialsystem, Berlin (2019), Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (2019), Luma Foundation, Arles (2019), 4th Istanbul Design Biennial (2018), Rhode Island School of Design (2018), Royal Institute of British Architects-North as part of the Liverpool Biennial 2018 and at the Mmofra Foundation, Accra (2017-present). Lokko is the founder of Willow Technologies, a biomaterial startup company based in Accra, Ghana. 

Richard Ballard

Richard is a sustainable change-maker advocating innovation for a more accessible and fairer food system. This entrepreneur co-founded Zero Carbon Food in 2012 after university research on future cities led him to redundant urban spaces. The first brand of which is Growing Underground, a controlled environment urban farm producing micro herbs 30m under London in disused WW2 tunnels, which now supplies major U.K. retailers. As COO of the business, Richard has sound knowledge across diverse disciplines from agronomy, physics, microbiology and data capture analysis, making Richard markedly influential across the ag-tech industry.

Richard has been invited as a public speaker to various events including the annual Microsoft Conference, TED X Clapham, Atlas of the Future and is a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Goals Goalkeeper. Richard believes education and collaboration is key to progress and is also a visiting lecturer at UCL and a Fast Forward 2030 board member. His work at Growing Underground has been recognised by awards such as the BBC Food and Farming award, Progress 1000 most influential Londoners and has been featured by major international publications such as National Geographic, CNBC, CNN, Wired, The Economist and the Guardian.

Richards intuitive, innovative approach allows the ability to cast new eyes to age-old problems for a more sustainable future.