Biosculptural Architecture


What is it?

“Biosculptural” Architecture is not a new style of architecture.

  • It is a teachable methodology

  • with a clear aim

  • and an underlying spiritual foundation.

The aim of “Biosculptural Architecture” is to create architectural forms imbued with the power of “Moral Transformation” through “Universal Beauty“.

The methodology arises from the research and growing understanding of both: the spiritual anatomy of the creative process and the formative signature of the physical and etheric forces that shape the countless living forms in the four kingdoms of nature.

The underlying Spiritual Foundation is based on anthroposophy, in particular on the contents that can be found in R. Steiner’s  “Esoteric  Science” and “Theosophy”, applied to the perspective of Form Creation.

The forms of nature can teach us to read and to speak in a UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE of FORM. This is the same language through which spiritual contents condense into physical form and substance. All forms of nature are filled with purpose, meaning and beauty. This is why we can begin to learn how to create new and meaningful forms by studying the language of form spoken by nature.

The forms of nature, which ultimately have a spiritual origin, are able to arise within physical substance through the creative tension that exists between the polarity of LIFE FORCES and PHYSICAL FORCES. Understanding and appreciating the dynamic tension that exists between these polar opposites is the first step towards a MEANINGFUL AND UNIVERSAL, ARCHITECTURAL LANGUAGE OF FORM.

In a nutshell:

How can we understand and access
The spiritual realities that stand behind Form?

How can we, without copying nature,
Create new architectural forms
Of similar power and beauty?

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What it is NOT!

Biosculptural Architecture is not an “all encompassing” philosophy or theory of Architecture.

It is only concerned with one perspective and aim, the creation of an environment that holds the power of moral transformation through universal beauty,  which implies the incorporation of universal spiritual values into the physical forms of our built up environment.

As such Biosculptural Architecture does not wish to replace or add to other worthwhile architectural principles and approaches, such as the focus on functionality, sustainability, energy efficiency, health, ecology and environmental awareness etc., all of which are already or, if not, should be part of good general architectural practice.

What the biosculptural approach does is follow a carefully structured creative process and bring a newly defined set of aesthetic considerations to the design development. Although in effect this adds only one extra layer to the design process, it is however  a layer that is very likely to have a significant effect on the chosen geometric forms,  final appearance and the overall feel and atmosphere emanating from the new project.

click here for a discussion on the relationship between “biosculptural” and “anthroposophic” Architecture

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What is its vision?

In the most general sense Biosculptural Architecture wishes to create an environment that “uplifts the soul”.

This is different from an environment that is merely functional, ‘well designed’, green, healthy or energy efficient. As important all such considerations are, in the final analysis they are utilitarian in nature. Utilitarianism can be efficient, practical, profitable, healthy, even attractive, yet in itself it can never become truly beautiful or uplifting. Why not?  Because in the final analysis there are always functional and/or commercial motives attached to anything of a purely utilitarian nature. True beauty on the other hand can only begin to arise when it is freed from utilitarian motives and when it is given as a free gift and not as the result of a commercial transaction. This doesn’t mean that Michael Angelo couldn’t have been paid for his work, but it means that the money wasn’t what motivated him. This also doesn’t mean that functional and utilitarian requirements need to be ignored but it means they are initially set aside for a later stage in the process, in order to allow for a creative open space to arise within which an  inspiration is able to to metamorphose what is essentially a formless spiritual content into a generative gesture and seed.

So how are we to approach the question of beauty?

We feel uplifted when we are filled with “wonder”, when we stand in the presence of something ‘truly’ beautiful. But what is ‘true Beauty’?  Beauty is said to be in the “eye of the beholder”, yet is this universally so? Indeed if there is such a thing as “Universal Beauty” what is it and where are we likely to find it?

What is Universal Beauty and where do we find it?

We admire the beauty in a rose, in a spectacular sunset, in the gait of a brumby, the smile of a baby or in the wisdom or humor of a wizened old face. Some manifestations of beauty seem universal and not at all subject to the eye of the beholder.  Moreover, they don’t seem to be limited to the phenomena of nature alone, we may equally stumble across them among man-made works of art.

When we are able to intently listen to such works as Mozart’s “Ave Verum”, Bach’s “Magnificat” or Beethoven’s Pastorale we feel transported to another region which is highly moral in nature and which momentarily transforms us into better human beings than we were before. The architectural equivalent of such moments is to stand in awe inside a great Cathedral, a Greek temple or walk up the steps of a great modern building such as the Sydney Opera House. These are experiences of universal beauty.

It is the manifestation of universal beauty that great works of art and the phenomena of nature have in common.

As with the forms of nature, all such great works of Art are born out of selfless WARMTH, were inspired out of LIGHT and brought to MOVEMENT through a free design process, before being able to crystallize into a meaningful FORM. Equally, the archetypal principles that flow into the forms of nature are the same principles active in great works of art. To the extent we discover nature’s formative principles and learn to work with them we can use the same processes and archetypes to create meaningful forms on a less ambitious and smaller, every day scale. The aim is never to copy nature but to employ the same underlying principles. To the extent we succeed we contribute towards the creation of a working and living environment that in its own way, however small, has the power to uplift and support us into becoming better human beings.

Ultimately the vision of biosculptural Architecture is to create an architectural environment that is uplifting, that speaks to our humanity and has the power to become a force for positive transformation in the world.

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What is its generating impulse?

During 1914 – 1918, while Europe and the rest of the world were at war, a group of workers representing 17 of the warring nations gathered peacefully in the little town of Dornach, Switzerland, to build one of the most ambitious and unusual buildings ever built, the first Goetheanum. The building, which was constructed entirely out of wood, was completed in 1920 and destroyed by fire in 1922. It arose out of the inspiration and teachings of Rudolf Steiner, who took a lively interest in all aspects of the design and construction of the building and who frequently gave lectures for the workers there.

During one of these lectures, in June 1914, he had this to say:

“It is probable that our building will not be able fully to attain its goal – indeed we are only aiming at a primitive beginning. Yet if human culture is able to take what is expressed in our building … and develop it; if the ideas underlying such works of art find followers — then people who allow themselves to be impressed by these works of art and who have learnt to understand their language, will never do wrong to their fellow men either in heart or intellect, because the forms of art will teach them how to love; they will learn to live in harmony and peace with their fellow beings. Peace and harmony will pour into all hearts through these forms; such buildings will be “Lawgivers” and their forms will be able to achieve what external institutions can never achieve.

However much study may be given to the elimination of crime and wrong-doing from the World, true redemption, the turning of evil into good, will in future depend upon whether true art is able to pour a spiritual fluid into the hearts and souls of men. When men’s hearts and souls are surrounded by the achievements of true architecture, sculpture and the like, they will cease to lie if it happens they are untruthfully inclined; they will cease to disturb the peace of their fellow men if this is their tendency. Edifices and buildings will begin to speak, and in a language of which people of today have no sort of inkling.” (My emphasis)

Rudolf Steiner, Ways to a new style in Architecture

To “turn evil into good” or “pour a spiritual fluid into the hearts and souls of men” architecture cannot possibly remain grounded within the materially or technologically driven currents that prevail today. Nor does a simple connection or orientation towards nature, health or ecology seem enough to bring about the profound moral effects Steiner alluded to above.

What seems required is to find the links between architecture and the moral or spiritual realities that alone can have such effects. These links, if they are to yield any concrete, practical results, are not to be sought in theoretical or spiritual speculations but in the thoughtful observation and contemplation of the forms of nature by which we are surrounded and which we bear within us. The closer we come to understanding nature’s language of form, the closer we will get in speaking it ourselves through architectural forms and artistic creations of the kind hinted at by Rudolf Steiner.

The Impulse of biosculptural Architecture takes its inspiration from the above quote by Rudolf Steiner.



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About the name “biosculptural”

“Steiner defined anthroposophy as the pathway linking the spiritual in the human being with the spiritual in the universe. If by analogy we can find the concrete links between the spiritual in the universe and the spiritual in a building, we might be getting closer to achieving moral aims of the kind envisaged by Steiner. Steiner also said that spirit cannot act in the world without form. If we therefore wish to draw the links between spirit and form we must learn to speak the language of form spoken by the spirit. The best classroom to study this language is the world of natural forms in the kingdoms of nature, which… “perfectly combine purpose and spirit and which can inspire and teach us to be similarly creative in building living structures of body, soul and spirit”.

The more concrete such a “Language of Form” can become, the more teachable will be the methodology by which it is applied or spoken. If the buildings we design and build are imbued with “life” and do indeed bear the “sculptural” forms capable of incorporating soul and spirit, the architectural impulse that gives birth to them deserves to be called “Bio-sculptural” Architecture. To the point to which such Architecture is grounded in Anthroposophy and able to develop a methodology based on an evolving Language of Form, and to the extent to which this language can create living forms and give concrete physical expression to soul / spiritual realities, bio-sculptural architecture stands distinct and with a unique impulse within the larger organic movement. In this case Biosculptural Architecture is not unlike Biodynamic Agriculture, which also stands unique within the larger organic agriculture movement and whose inspiring source and methods are similarly, yet in a different way, able to link cosmos and earth and draw increased life forces into fruit and vegetable. Just like the bio-dynamic farmer must learn to ‘read’ his plants and know when to spray the ‘light and silica based 501’ or whether ‘500’ is needed to bring water and lushness into the earth, (to use a somewhat simplistic example), so the bio-sculptural architect must learn to read and use the different qualities and life forces inherent in nature and in the different forms and expressions of a building.”


click here for a discussion on the relationship between “biosculptural” and “anthroposophic” Architecture



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