IAAC takes part in the Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2022: Edible. Or, the Architecture of Metabolism

IAAC Academic Director Areti Markopoulou and Lydia Kallipoliti, Assistant Professor at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union in New York, in collaboration with Chief Local Advisor Ivan Sergejev, are curating the 6th edition of the Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB 2022) under the title of “Edible. Or, the Architecture of Metabolism”.

TAB 2022 will take place September – November 2022, with the opening week on the 7th–11th of September. The exhibition EDIBLE at Estonian Museum of Architecture is open until November 20.

Several projects developed in the framework of IAAC’s European Projects and Academic Programmes, such as MRAC, MAEBB and MACT, around the topics of Metabolic Home, From Brick to Soil and Future Food Deal will be featured in the international exhibition.

During the Opening Week at the Cultural Hub of Tallinn, TAB will hold a two-day “EDIBLE” Symposium, where IAAC Faculty and Researchers will take part in various round table debates, bringing together prominent architects and theorists with environmental philosophers, scientists and entrepreneurs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the question of ‘where our food comes from’ became eminently important. The fragility of our production processes and the mobility networks that transport commodities and food, urge new forms of localization and the design of circular economies. EDIBLE approaches food both literally and metaphorically.

On the one hand, via food we explore architectural strategies of local production and self-sufficiency, like urban agriculture and renewable energy. On the other, we analyze the by-products of urban life -namely livestock, agriculture, and forest residues as resources; in ways that limit material loss and explore alternative pathways.

Currently, the global food system—from the overgrowth of chickens to the entirety of the agri-food industry—is the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases. As the need for food continues to grow in response to increasing urbanization, the alienation between people and their provision sources also grows. We continue to produce and consume our edibles by reinforcing carbon dependency, often unaware of the links between the sourcing, production and distribution of food, and the ways in which we consume it. In many ways, we are estranged from the journey of the edible arriving to our table.

Envisioning an architecture that produces resources, digests its waste and decomposes radically questions the extractive, consumptive and contaminating nature of the built environment. Today, within the context of interconnected global crises, namely the climate emergency, the public health crisis and social inequity, the idea of a world where resources are recirculated is vital for planetary habitability.

How can architecture produce food and be eaten away? The objective of the 2022 Tallinn Architecture Biennial is not only to display technological instrumentality, but also to reveal how architecture constructs, distributes, and leverages power via material upcycling, interspecies alliances, biopolitics and excremental processes.

In this light EDIBLE urges architects, planners, and environmental designers to reimagine planetary food systems, along with architecture’s expressive capacity to metabolize, digest and generate resources. How can we redefine traditional practices upon which the global food systems have been operating for the last decades and urge new forms of localization and production? How can we explore alternative pathways between production and consumption? How might we foster circular processes and economies through design?

Architecture and Food

With the different thematic entities of the main curatorial exhibition a prime objective is to illustrate how recirculatory systems and the production of ‘food’ manifest architectural concerns related to habitation.

Specifically, the Metabolic Home program converts the Estonian Museum of Architecture into a living machine and urges visitors to participate in a curated experiment. Each of the seven installations in the Metabolic Home exhibit how metabolic processes related to food are linked to everyday domestic spaces and activities. Food production is presented in a vertical garden; processing in an interspecies kitchen; consumption in a rewilded dining space; digestion in a lounge whose outer envelope is edible, hydration in a toilet that endlessly recirculates and filters water; nutrient release in a vertical connection for harvesting; and upcycling in a garage made of carbon negative voxels. Each domestic space is part of a larger domestic ecosystem and interacts with the other installations (house parts) in a feedback chain of resource exchanges.

In addition, the program From Bricks to Soil showcases a collection of edible, upcycled, productive and compostable building prototypes and parts, magnifying the importance of awareness of the origin, process, use and final destination of our built matter.

Food and Geopolitics engages with planetary phenomena and large-scale territories via maps, drawings, films and visualizations of mass migration and food sourcing in challenging environmental conditions and zones of conflict.

The Archaeology of Architecture and Food Systems displays an archive of radical, speculative projects that architects, and artists envisioned throughout the twentieth century.

Finally, the Future Food Deal exhibits guidelines, cookbooks, as well as visionary drawings and manifestos, on how architecture may respond to the problem of alienation between people and their sources of food provisions in a time of increasing urbanization.

The selected projects portray a variety of approaches that explore the principles of kinship, interspecies alliances, circularity, and localization. From new breeding practices, farming food waste, to synthetic growth and degrowth, EDIBLE aims to generate new visions and to raise critical questions on the rituals, practices and architectures that can emerge from the networks of food production, consumption, distribution, and decay.

IAAC’s projects showcased in this framework will be:

  • In the “Metabolic Home” section, Alex Dubor and Cristian Rizzuti will present “Robotic Farmers”, a vertical garden building skin producing edibles and enhancing symbiosis among humans, plants and robots;
  • In the “From Brick to Soil” section, Chiara Farinea will present “Rootskin”, a biodegradable building skin fabric grown in soil and by plant roots;
  • In the “Future Food Deal” section, Vicente Guallart, Dani Ibañez and Alex Hadley will present “Solar Greenhouse”, a zero kilometre timber made greenhouse for urban food and renewable energy production;
  • In the “Future Food Deal” section, Mathilde Marengo with F+P will present “Fun Food Rambla”, an urban strategy that redesigns public and built space fostering urban productivity and social inclusion through the actions of producing food.
Tallinn Biennale

EDIBLE Symposium

During the Opening Week at the Cultural Hub of Tallinn, TAB will hold a two-day “EDIBLE” Symposium, which aims to generate genuine interdisciplinary debates. Participating speakers come from fields ranging from architecture to design, from textile technologies to economy.

In this framework, IAAC Faculty and Researchers will take part in the following round tables:

Thursday, September 8

  • 12:00 – 13:00 CIRCULAR BLOCK / REINVENTING THE MICRORAYON Round table discussion moderated by Ivan Sergejev with Maria Derlõš, Kaidi Põldoja, Sonia Ralston, Lydia Kallipoliti, Areti Markopoulou
  • 14:00 – 15:30 ARCHITECTURE THAT MAKES FOOD. Round table discussion moderated by Sofia Krimizi (KSE Studio), with Alexandre Dubor & Cristian Rizzuti (IAAC), Damiano Cerrone (Spin Unit), Andreas Theodoridis & Christina Ciardullo

Friday, September 9

  • 11:00 – 12:30 FROM WASTE TO MATTER Round table discussion moderated by Zulaikha Ayub, with Allison Dring (Made of Air), Siim Karro (Myceen), Chiara Farinea (Advanced Architecture Group, IAAC) and Annika Kaldoja & Kärt Ojavee.
  • 15:00 – 16:30 FARM & THE SPECIES Round Table Discussion moderated by Mathilde Marengo & Sofia Vyzoviti, with Jonathan Minchin (Ecological Interactions, Green Fab Lab), Mitchell Joachim (Terreform One), Pedro Gadahno, Sille Pihlak & Siim Tuksam (PART)