MRAIC OAA RCA
Professor, School of Architecture, University of Waterloo
Director, Integrated Group for Visualization, Design and Manufacturing, University of Waterloo
Chair, Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture ACADIA 2013 Adaptive Architecture
Director, Riverside Architectural Press
Philip Beesley is a professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo. A practitioner of architecture and digital media art, he was educated in visual art at Queen’s University, in technology at Humber College, and in architecture at the University of Toronto. At Waterloo he serves as Director for the Integrated Group for Visualization, Design and Manufacturing, and as Director for Riverside Architectural Press. He also holds the position of Examiner at University College London. His Toronto-based practice PBAI is an interdisciplinary design firm that combines public buildings with exhibition design, stage and lighting projects. The studio’s methods incorporate industrial design, digital prototyping, and mechatronics engineering. Philip Beesley’s work is widely cited in the rapidly expanding technology of responsive architecture. He has authored and edited eight books and appeared on the cover of Artificial Life (MIT), LEONARDO and AD journals. Features include national CBC news, Casa Vogue, WIRED, and a series of TED talks. His work was selected to represent Canada at the 2010 Venice Biennale for Architecture, and he has been recognized by the Prix de Rome in Architecture, VIDA 11.0, FEIDAD, two Governor General’s Awards and as a Katerva finalist. Beesley’s funding includes core CFI, SSHRC, NSERC and Canada Council for the Arts grants.
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. Emotion, romanticism and 20th century spiritualism as alternate qualities in Modernism; alterity and dissociation; chthonian and expanded definitions of space; the archaic. Current applied projects include solar-powered high-performance housing envelopes in exterior sites and architectural-scale geotextiles in museum spaces.
Philip Beesley Architect Inc. is an interdisciplinary design firm located in Toronto, Canada. Work within the practice includes public buildings, development planning, commercial facilities and offices, and residences. Working with community groups is a particular strength of the office, drawing on Beesley's experience as a housing activist and community organizer.
Recent projects include a new bank building for the Niagara Credit Union, the Harbour Inn development at Niagara-On-The Lake, the new Gallery of Korean Art for the Royal Ontario Museum, planning for historic building projects for the Toronto congregations of the British Episcopalian Methodist/Christ St. James Church (1924) and St. George-the-Martyr (1844), a trade gallery for the General Consulate for Indonesia in Toronto, playground designs for the Toronto District School Board, and a public art installation with Kai Chan at the Living Arts Centre, Mississauga.
The studio’s design methods incorporate advanced digital visualization, industrial design, digital prototyping, and mechatronics engineering. Interdisciplinary art projects, graphic design, exhibit design, stage and lighting projects are also frequently undertaken. Sculptural work in the past decade has focused on lightweight 'textile' environments, and landscape installations. Experimental projects have increasingly focussed on immersive digitally fabricated lightweight “textile” structures, while the most recent generations of these works feature interactive kinetic systems that use dense arrays of microprocessors, sensors and actuator systems. These environments combine synthetic and near-living systems in pursuit of a distributed emotional consciousness.
PBAI is led by experimental sculptor/architect Philip Beesley. Core team members include Rob Gorbet (mechatronics engineer and visual artist), Rachel Armstrong (artificial life researcher), Eric Bury (graphic designer and visual artist) and Jonathan Tyrrell (interactive system coordinator and sound artist). Currently there are 15 artists, designers, architects, and engineers within the collective.