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Nataly Gattegno: Church Lecture Series

The work of Future Cities Lab is definitely far out there on the design spectrum. With a healthy blend of built and unbuilt work ranging from small scale installations and models to full blown park and pavilion designs, their portfolio is as diverse as it is radical. At the helm is architect and visualizer Nataly Gattegno, co-founder and lead design principal. Some of Future Cities Lab’s most notable work, I feel, is actually there unbuilt theoretical work and their small scale data visualization installations. The first major example that comes to mind is Hydramax, a hypothetical pier design commissioned by SFMOMA as a small scale model installation. What makes the project unique, as Nataly described it, was its way of “exploring post-sea level rise San Fransisco” rather than trying to fight the inevitable rising tide. The dynamic model of Hydramax was able to respond to the stimulus around it in the SFMOMA gallery to move its fins and light up based on sound and movement. The design would do something similar in reality by allowing “robotic architecture at the urban scale” to collect water and fog and modulate air flow and temperature. The proposal also included less ornate solutions that can be applied easily today to many coastal systems including breaking up the harsh border between land and sea with wetlands and coastal “aquatic parks.” Perhaps one day we will have the living, architectural robots of Future Cities Lab’s wildest dreams.

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