Greg Lynn's Embryological House: case study in the preservation of digital architecture

Introduction     Background     Animate Form     Digital Life     Technical Challenges     Other Challenges     Discoveries     Future Steps

The Canadian Centre for Architecture is dedicated to the preservation of architectural archives of international significance. As is the case for many architectural institutions, we are beginning to acquire for the first time archives made up largely of digital materials. The Embryological House archive is our first acquisition of this type; it is a key instance of this kind of archive, for both technical and thematic reasons.

Greg Lynn pioneered the design capabilities of digital environments in the development of architectural form. He has a background in architecture (Miami University, Ohio; Princeton) and philosophy (Miami University). His firm Greg Lynn FORM is based in Venice, California. Lynn teaches at a number of institutions including Yale University and the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. In 1997 he began development of a theoretical project, the Embryological House, funded by the Graham Foundation and the Wexner Center. The House was developed over several years and has been exhibited widely in various forms including the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2000. Greg Lynn himself presented the Embryological House in a lecture and workshop at the CCA as part of the Fondation Daniel Langlois' Devices of Design conference (2004).

This case study is being carried out under the auspices of the CCA and DOCAM. It is overseen by the CCA's Digital Architecture Working Group (DAWG): Giovanna Borasi, Robert Desaulniers, Stéphane Forget, Karen Potje, Howard Shubert, and Judy Silverman. The project is supervised by Howard Shubert and Karen Potje, and has been carried out by DOCAM research assistants Lawrence Bird, Andrea Kuchembuck, and Guillaume Labelle.

CCA Director Mirko Zardini (left) and Greg Lynn, Devices of Design conference, 2004.