Toshiko Mori Restorative Design

Quantum Physics describes nature at its smallest scales—the energy levels of atoms and particles. In our contemporary world, everything is animate; nothing is inanimate. The objects and buildings we design are part of and an extension of nature. We must confront the resource and sustainability challenges of a changing world through a commitment to grounded, restorative design. Restorative design means re-energizing our existing capacity to heal and to restore balance and harmony. As architects, we can conceive of buildings and cities as part of a force field that continues to generate within its footprint and beyond, by contributing to rather than destroying the environment at every scale. The model for the future of architecture and design should be based on that of agriculture: by preparing a well-cultivated ‘terroir’ or soil and planting ‘seeds’, living within changing seasons and diverse climates, and constantly tending to our world. This organic typology works in response to the phenomena of nature and, as a cyclical and circular model, it can be translated to mechanized and digitized contexts. To create an ever-expanding, positive sphere of influence, a design or a building should serve multiple purposes, be multi-tasking and consider wide-range and long-term impact. Architecture is considered the Mother of all the Arts; so why should we as architects not take up the maternal task of caring for our culture and civilization? With empathy, nurturing, and care, architecture and design can improve the quality of life. The complex task of raising humans involves wisdom and ethical judiciousness. Our world needs good mothers to tend to starving communities, orphaned forests, and misbehaving technologies and tyrants. We must free ourselves from existential bubbles and radically isolating intellectual silos. To restore the broken world in which we live, architects must recognize the need to participate and to nurture the forces that unite us all. This text was expanded from a video manifesto presented at the “Broken Nature” Symposium, organized by Paola Antonelli, at MoMA as part of the XXII Triennale di Milano. 


Toshiko Mori will be at Design in the Age of Experience in Milan and will present a Future Talk about the convergence of science and art on Friday, April 12th at 1:30 pm.