San Francisco

Exhibition Opening: Lignin & Lining

Exhibition Opening


exhibition header

Plants undergo various protocols that inhibit decomposition. Strategies can range from the secretion of plant resins to mineralization. Vegetal resin secretion is generated to protect from pathogens, including fungal deterioration, particularly in woody species. Dependent on the plant, protection mechanisms can also be accompanied by morphological changes in their tissue, producing encapsulation. Plants' unique material and structural defense strategies are multifold, spanning from resistance to microbial deterioration, harboring pathogens, to preventing water permeation. The MAAD studio inquires if defense strategies and intentional incorporation of bacteria and fungi in plant tissue, including woods, lead to unprecedented material functionalities in the built environment. Wood provides critical opportunities as a carbon sink material. Nevertheless, the environmental and factual carbon sink capacity of wood and wood products depends on various factors. Producing construction materials such as timber requires much energy to dry and process them. Concurrently, investing in the tree itself is only sometimes possible in an industry widely distributed among many small producers.

This situation raises questions about what and how we should build with wood and whether the wood industry will be radically transformed. Such interrogations require assessing wood across dimensional and production scales spanning from the science of the cell wall to architectural design, engineering, and global policies. This studio revolves around these interrogations in conceptual production models and strategic-making investigations of wood innovation. This is exercised through the design of a mid-twenty-first-century wood "circular factory." The program is open to interpreting the meaning of a wood "factory" from a broad range of approaches, from a centralized to a distributive bio-based circular economy. The context of Oroville, CA, encompasses the riverbank of the Feather River in Oroville, CA, which remains one of the few lumber industries in the west. California's beleaguered timber industry produces many problems, from the need to import over 80% of its wood products to its role in wildfires due to unmanaged forestation.

Consequently, rethinking the timber industry's role is vital for the region. The design investigation of a mid-twenty-first century "circular factory encompasses developing new concepts around wood technology and applications exploring innovation of systems, methods, organization, and material strategies specifically focused on increasing flooding and wildfire risks. The studio investigated the interdependency of wood innovation from master planning behavioral ecologies' AI models, tectonics, and robotics to material properties of combined wood waste byproducts, including oak bark and pine resin.


Studio Director: Professor Maria Paz Gutierrez
Student Team: Alexander Arebalo, Maggie Bao, Dimitra Chantzakou, Shenzhou Dai, Yiyao Guo, Zixiong Lin, Andres Morelli, Clifford Vickrey, Zizhao Zhou, Rayna Zhang, and Sihang Liu
The exhibition opening is co-presented by AIASF.
This exhibition is generously sponsored by and collaborated with:
HOK logo
Lead: Paul Woolford


Doors will open 30 minutes in advance of the program.



Pre-register for our in person event >>

When registering, please use the same email address that you use to receive SPUR emails.

Refund Policy

Sponsorship payments: Will not be refunded, as sponsorship benefits take effect immediately and are on-going through the date of the event.

Auxiliary Services

If, in order to participate in a SPUR event, you need auxiliary aids or services for a disability (e.g., qualified interpreter, qualified reader, written materials, taped texts) please submit your request five business days before the event to [email protected] or 415-781-8726 x132. SPUR will work with you in identifying effective auxiliary aids or services that it can provide. If you need to cancel your request, please notify SPUR at least two business days before the event.