Dimitra Almpani-Lekka is an Architect (Dipl. Arch. Eng.) who graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. For the last few years she has been working at the Berlin-based Landscape Architecture offices Lavaland + Treibhaus with a focus on the creation of socially sustainable public spaces and the restoration of biodiversity in urban areas. She is a member of SciArt Collective "MY-CO-X" under the Molecular Microbiology department of TU Berlin, experimenting with the creation and use of mycelium-based composite materials within the architectural context.
Since 2021 she is a research fellow at the "Object Space Agency" section of the Cluster of Excellence "Matters of Activity", where more than 40 disciplines systematically investigate design strategies for active materials and structures that adapt to specific requirements and environments.
She explores architectural structures as potential active, integrated parts of their environment and its metabolic processes. She is particularly interested in water transformations through the built environment with the aim of promoting multispecies symbioses and how a non-anthropocentric approach in architecture can affect design strategies and the discipline's material culture. For the above she investigates different species and colonies of the microcosm and the mechanisms that define their unique functions and properties. She is currently a PhD student at the Architecture department of the University of Ioannina under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Yannis Zavoleas.
Phd Thesis Summary
Title: Biosystemic Approaches in Architecture: An Investigation of Water Treatment through Design across Different Scales
The aim of this PhD is to investigate emerging architectural design protocols that place ecosystemic functions and cycles as the parameter of the outmost importance while moving away from an anthropocentric view of the world and the built environment, to an ecosystemic design approach. The proposal shifts the focus towards design strategies that can integrate, serve and promote the flows of the natural environment while influencing the morphological, material and constructional aspects of the built environment.
This shift can take place through a holistic viewpoint that extents to the creation of alliances between the fields of biotechnology, natural sciences and environmental engineering as well as humanities, by employing an operative model that is informed by cybernetics.
The main focus of the research is water as a symbol and as one of the most vital resources for the sustenance of ecosystemic activity. The proposal seeks alternative protocols for the architectural design process in relation to the management and transformation of water resources that can place the built environment as an active mediator for biodiversity through different scales. The above constitute the building as an active, infrastructural part of the environment, interacting with it and constantly exchanging matter and energy in order to support the natural aquatic cycles and as a consequence the promotion and restoration of biodiversity within the urban fabric.
Strategically this approach requires the study of water related functions, properties and phenomena across different scales, different species and under the lenses of different scientific fields. The study of the above enriches the design process with methodological tools and data analysis techniques but also provide the means to assess results. The suggested outcoming interventions are creating a methodological assemblage of design guidelines that can encourage the symbiosis between human and non-human agents.
The research will respond to research challenges like the following: