Greg Lynn - Biography
Greg Lynn is an architect, philosopher, and science-fiction author. Greg Lynn was born in 1964 in Ohio. Greg Lynn has been a professor of conceptual architecture at the European Graduate School EGS where he conducted an Intensive Summer Workshop. He teaches the course Architecture and Philosophy: An Exploration of the Future. Greg Lynn's architectural work, which is highly informed by his reading of philosophy, is prominent among contemporary architecture for its biomorphic style. TIME magazine has named Greg Lynn one of the top 100 innovators of the 21st century. He lives and works in Venice, California.
Greg Lynn is one of the most innovative architects working today. Drawing much of his inspiration from mathematics, philosophy, and postmodern theory and in particular the work of Gilles Deleuze, Luce Irigaray, Sanford Kwinter, Ilya Prigogine and others. Greg Lynn develops his architectural projects utilizing the concepts of high theory. Computers are a principal element in Greg Lynn's design process, which he believes can be used to integrate calculus into the design of new architectural forms. He has developed this idea in his theoretical book Animate Form (1999). Greg Lynn earned combined BA degrees in philosophy and architecture from Miami University of Ohio, and he received his Master of Architecture degree from Princeton University. Greg Lynn says the following about the connection between his education and his current work:
In the end it's geometry. I've always studied architecture —ever since I was a little kid. I had the full treatment, because my mother was the equivalent of a stage mother. I could draw perspective before I was in junior high school. Visualizing geometry and thinking abstractly was something that came easily. When I went to college I got out of architecture for a while, and majored in philosophy. Then I realized that all the philosophy I was reading was really about form.
Greg Lynn has taught at several universities around the world: The University of Applied Arts, Vienna (tenured); ETH Zurich; University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Architecture and Urban Design; Yale School of Architecture; and Columbia Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation. He has also started his own design firm, Greg Lynn FORM, which is known for several prominent projects, including the New York Presbyterian Church in Queens.
Greg Lynn's innovations in form and structure, which flirt with the possibilities opened by digital technology and envisage ideas of science-fiction, have made stunning breakthroughs in their increased ability to sustain the building's weight. The structures Greg Lynn has created; both by himself and with the other architects in his design firm; push towards the unknown in their irregular geometry and biomorphic shapes. He is very candid about his refusal of any nostalgia for a past which is inaccessible. At the same time, his work is unusually daring, and seems as though it would not be out of place in a science-fiction film.
One of the most extraordinary and futuristic of Greg Lynn's projects is the proposed design for the Welsh National Opera House in Cardiff Bay. The structure was conceived as a highly elaborate housing structure of numerous branching public spaces. The design, which draws its inspiration from the graving docks surrounding the opera house, is highly versatile in its use of wall fins and branching volumes, creating a space which is not static, but continuously adjusting to the flows of music and audience in its acoustic and spatial attunement. He is one of the pioneers of the digital design, fabrication and design processes.
Greg Lynn has created what is called Blob Architecture, which as he says, “The term is used to describe binary large object modelling. Basically you take a whole bunch of polygons and you smooth them all together. It allows you to build with the surface in mind and brings architecture into dialogue with other fields like fine art and aerospace. Greg Lynn writes the following about his Blob work,
When I first used the term it was completely technical. The term Blob modelling was a module in Wavefront software at the time, and it was an acronym for Binary Large Object - spheres that could be collected to form larger composite forms. At the level of geometry and mathematics, I was excited by the tool as it was great for making large-scale single surfaces out of many small components as well as adding detailed elements to larger areas. At a conceptual and technical level, I loved it and I do not expect this kind of nerdy involvement with the details of my profession to be shared or understood.
One example of Blob Architecture is his piece, Unique ‘Blobwall’, (2007). The Blobwall is made of low-density, recyclable and impact-resistant polymer with measurements of 217.2 x 373.4 x 121.9 cm. (85 1/2 x 147 x 48 in.), the polymer is produced by Panelite, USA. The blob bricks he makes have been incorporated into multiple art exhibitions that explore the concept of building with flexible materials. Blob Architecture brings his field into the realms of fine art and aerospace, he is innovating a way of building that keeps surface in the forefront. These are another example of the innovative and visionary works of Greg Lynn. As a conceptual architect his work barely touches the contemporary in its reach to envision the future.
An interesting part of Greg Lynn’s creative process lies in his use of computers. While normal architects first realize their designs with paper and pencil and then bring in the aid of computer drafting software, Greg’s amorphous designs draw on computers from the start. He relies on technology and software from the film industry and other creative fields to realize and design his non-traditional forms of building. Instead of thinking of design as a way of connecting lines he re-envisions curves as the designing space within a flexible medium, as he says, “we've shifted to thinking of space as the sheltered enclosures of a flexible handkerchief."
Greg Lynn is the author of numerous books including: Greg Lynn Form. (Rizzoli. 2008), DD 15: Greg Lynn: Form/Predator (DAMDI. 2006), CoReFab (DAP. 2005), Folding in Architecture (Willey-Academy. 2004), Intricacy. (University of Pennsylvania. 2003), Architectural laboratories (DAP. 2002), Animate Form (Princeton Architectural Press. 1999), Folds, Bodies & Blobs: Collected Essays. (La Lettree volee. 1998).
Greg Lynn has authored many articles including: "Blobwall - Greg Lynn FORM." in: Architectural design (2009), "Recycled Toy Furniture - Greg Lynn FORM." in: Architectural design (2009), "Design in the digital age." in: National design journal (2005), "A New Style of Life." in: Assemblage (April 2000), "Embryologic Houses." in: Architectural design (2000), “In The Wake of The Avant-Garde." in: Assemblage (April 1996), "An Advanced Form of Movement." in: Architectural design (1996) and "Multiplicitous and Inorganic Bodies." in: Assemblage (December 1992).