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Hylozoic Ground by architect and sculptor Philip Beesley (PBAI / University of Waterloo) was selected through a national juried competition to represent Canada at the 2010 Venice Biennale in Architecture. Hylozoic Ground is a uniquely Canadian experimental architecture that explores qualities of contemporary wilderness. The project transformed the Canada Pavilion into an artificial forest made of an intricate lattice of small transparent acrylic meshwork links, covered with a network of interactive mechanical fronds, filters, and whiskers. 

Beesley’s visionary architecture affects people on an emotional and poetic level, linking the animate and the inanimate. The sophisticated technologies used in the work are also being directly translated into architectural envelopes that include manufactured filtering and shading systems. The work has further applications in a wide range of disciplines including sustainable design, geotextiles, material science, environmental engineering, robotics, psychology, and biotechnology. [1]

Knowledge Integration and Pedagogy

Two parallel streams focus on curriculum development and interdisciplinary working methods. The first stream works with specialized curriculum to train students from kindergarten to grade 12 in critical thinking and innovation skills required to address complex problems. The research integrates current STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with art creating hybrid STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics)- education models. In addition to developing critical thinking, group work, and design skills, the workshops reinforce connections with creativity and the arts. The second parallel stream is developing working methods for interdisciplinary research supporting collaborative process among partners. [2]


[1]     Beesley, Philip. “Hylozoic Ground.” Philip Beesley Architect, February 2, 2016. http://philipbeesleyarchitect.com/sculptures/0929_Hylozoic_Ground_Venice/Hylozoic-Ground-PDF-Article.pdf.

[2]     LASG, ed. “Near-Living Architecture: Work in Progress 2011-2013.” CumInCAD, 2011.

Additional Information

“Projects.” Living Architecture Systems Group. Accessed January 11, 2021. http://livingarchitecturesystems.com/projects/.

“Hylozoic Ground Collaboration: Breathing Pore and Protocell.” Living Architecture Systems Group. Accessed January 11, 2021. http://livingarchitecturesystems.com/project/hylozoic_ground_collaboration_breathing_pore_and_protocell/.

Beesley, Philip. “Hylozoic Veil.” Accessed January 11, 2021. https://www.academia.edu/23058188/Hylozoic_Veil.

Project Title: Hylozoic Ground
Philip Beesley 
Living Architecture Systems Group
Karsh-Masson Gallery
Ottawa, ON (2015)
Canadian Pavillion
Venice Biennale 
Venice, IT (2010)

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