Architect Sean Lally’s work is a synthesis of two intense pressures on society today: humanity’s manipulation of the environment and the bioengineering of the human body. The first is changing the makeup of the physical spaces we occupy and the second, the very bodies that perceive that space. Lally’s designs are experiments that report on potential futures ahead, ones that do not fall along the false dichotomy presented in the media that Earth can only be preserved or destroyed. The work instead embraces the belief that for humanity to live sustainably and responsibly, earth’s environments, as well as the human body, must evolve together.
In Lally’s book The Air from Other Planets (Lars Muller, 2014), he introduces the reader to a new form of architecture produced by designing the energy within our environment (electromagnetic, thermodynamic, acoustic, and chemical), rather than just physical walls and barriers. For Lally, energy is more than what fills the interior of a building or reflects off of its outer walls. Instead, energy becomes its own enterprise for design innovation: it becomes the architecture itself.
The book speculates on the shapes and aesthetics of future architectural space, including the social and political dynamics that will emerge when both the design of the environment and the human body are recognized as necessarily elastic for humanity to move forward. The Air from Other Planets is nostalgic for the future, rooted in the belief that the architect’s greatest contributions lie both in harnessing the latest technologies and advancements in building materials and in exercising our imaginations through speculative projections of worlds and environments yet to exist.
BIO: Sean Lally is an architect and founder of the design and architecture firm WEATHERS LLC, and the author of the recently published book The Air from Other Planets: A Brief History of Architecture to Come Lars Muller, 2014). He is the recipient of the 2012 Prince Charitable Trusts Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome in Landscape Architecture and an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Stay tuned for an interview with Sean about the future of architecture, coming soon to Project Hieroglyph.