What happens when manufacturing and crazy ideas meet? Tallinn Architecture Biennale brought together Thermory – world’s largest thermowood manufacturer – and iheartblob, an award-winning architectural design studio and research collective formed by Aleksandra Belitskaja, Ben James and Shaun McCallum.
The installation “Fungible non-fungible” sets forth a new role of the architect – no longer the ‘Master Builder’ of The Fountainhead – but rather one of a system designer who weaves together innovative technologies to empower communities and enable local craftsmanship through the usage of Blockchain, specifically the emergence of Non-Fungible Token (“NFT”), and Artificial Intelligence (“AI”).
This project is the first-ever blockchain-funded architecture. It serves as a test for the new decentralised architectural design model, which can lead to works that are more reflective of the community and environmental awareness.
Rather than designing architecture elements themselves, they have built an NFT generative tool in which individuals can design and “mint” – the process of creating and authenticating digital ownership. Every NFT minted by their tool funds a physical twin used in the pavilion.
The digital objects can then be sold, by the owners, on secondary marketplaces as a way for the community designers to generate returns on their design/investment. The result is a pavilion composed of unique parts, each with different designers and owners, and ultimately reflective of a broader community demand and aesthetic sentiment.
“Thermally modified wood is a really great fit for experimental architecture projects like the Fungible / Non-Fungible pavilion. The timber is of course sustainable, environmentally friendly and very durable which is ideal when working with a pavilion which must face potentially harsh weather conditions,” said Shaun McCallum about using Thermory wood for creating the pavilion.
“Working with Thermory was fantastic. Working with the team has been a great experience for us where the team’s expertise and can-do attitude helped immensely with the timber fabrication of the pavilion.”