Philip Beesley Academic Profile


Philip Beesley RCA FRAIC OAA
Professor, School of Architecture, University of Waterloo
Professor, Digital Design and Architecture & Urbanism, European Graduate School
Director, Living Architecture Systems Group
Director, Riverside Architectural Press
Principal, Philip Beesley Architect Inc. in association with Rolf Seifert

Philip Beesley is a practicing visual artist, architect, and Professor in Architecture at the University of Waterloo and Professor of Digital Design and Architecture & Urbanism at the European Graduate School. Beesley's work is widely cited in contemporary art and architecture, focused in the rapidly expanding technology and culture of responsive and interactive systems.

Beesley was educated in visual art at Queen's University, in technology at Humber College, and in architecture at the University of Toronto. He serves as the Director for the Living Architecture Systems Group, and as Director for Riverside Architectural Press. His Toronto-based practice, Philip Beesley Architect Inc., operates in partnership with Rolf Seifert and the Waterloo-based Adaptive Systems Group, and in numerous collaborations including longstanding exchanges with couture designer Iris van Herpen and futurist Rachel Armstrong. PBAI/PS combine the disciplines of professional architecture, science, engineering, and visual art. The studio's methods incorporate industrial design, digital prototyping, instrument making, and mechatronics engineering. Beesley has authored and edited sixteen books and proceedings, and has appeared on the cover of Artificial Life (MIT), LEONARDO and AD journals. Features include national CBC news, Vogue, WIRED, and a series of TED talks. His work was selected to represent Canada at the 2010 Venice Biennale for Architecture, and has received distinctions including the Prix de Rome, VIDA 11.0, FEIDAD, Azure AZ, and Architizer A+. Beesley's work is supported by partnerships and by SSHRC, NSERC and Canadian arts and technology funding.

RESEARCH FOCUS: Responsive and distributed architectural environments and interactive systems, flexible lightweight structures integrating kinetic functions, microprocessing, sensor and actuator systems, with particular focus on digital fabrication methods and sheet-material derivations. Comprehensive architectural design and professional practice; textile structures; material crafts and fabrication; organicism and design integrated with nature; hybrid forms of nature; chemical metabolisms; field relationships; emotion, romanticism and 20th century spiritualism as alternate qualities in Modernism; alterity and dissociation; chthonian and expanded definitions of space; the archaic, genesis, futures.

Philip Beesley Architect Inc.


Philip Beesley Architect Inc. is an interdisciplinary design company located in Toronto, Canada. PBAI specializes in architectural design of public buildings, public art and experimental installations. The group is closely associated with the multi-partner Living Architecture Systems Group, the School of Architecture and Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo, the architectural practice of Rolf Seifert, and Riverside Architectural Press. Sculptural work in the past two decades has focused on immersive textile environments, landscape installations and intricate geometric structures. The most recent generations of these works feature interactive sound, light and kinetic mechanisms with distributed control systems. Studio research focuses on aesthetics, technology and craft of responsive envelope systems including digital fabrication of extremely light-weight, flexible component arrays containing embedded sensors and actuators.

Projects are developed at widely varying scales from urban design to personal couture, using cycles of multidisciplinary experimentation and implementation. The studio's design methods combine the durable crafts of heavy machining and building with advanced digital visualization, industrial design, digital prototyping, electronics and mechanical engineering.

PBAI is led by experimental sculptor/architect Philip Beesley and architect Rolf Seifert. Current collaborators include Rachel Armstrong, Salvador Breed, Rob Gorbet, Iris van Herpen, and Dana Kulic. The work of the collective has included collaborations with numerous architects, artists, engineers, designers, and scientists.