Mac Van Dam
+44 7858986107
London, UK & Toronto, Canada.

    Mac Van Dam (1995) is a multi-disciplinary designer working in architecture, art, object design, and material science. His work is rooted in a material-led design process and a desire to bring biological/living sensibilities to the everyday. He is currently designing artworks and contemporary forms of urban green infrastructure. Before founding design studios in the UK, Mac was a research member/artist at the Living Architecture Systems Group in Toronto, and has worked at internationally acclaimed architecture firms. His work has been shown at the Lisbon Triennale, London Design Festival, Venice Biennale, Coachella, and several other international exhibitions.

    Historically, architecture was our primary mechanism for protecting ourselves from the turbulent external world. Its objectives were to be as large, sprawling, and solid as possible.
Over the last 150 years of industrial development, architecture and city making has in itself become a primary actor in contributing to a turbulent global ecology. However, standards in design and construction have yet to substantially shift to adapt to the new responsibilities of architecture and city-making. It is clear the architecture of today must be as much about building walls as it is about creating material connections with local, regenerative ecologies.

    As an emerging architect and designer, it is my challenge to honestly confront these issues at their core, bypassing the tendency to simplify these problems as solvable merely by optimized efficiencies and improved materials. Instead, I come from an understanding that the answer must include reformed notions of ontology and human / non-human hierarchies. As industry is shifting to adapt to these emerging ecological issues there is a collective effort at all levels to re-orient value-sets and reorganize capitalist hierarchies to include the non-human aspect of construction and city-making. Incentives for change are coming slowly and my work hopes not only to “piggie-back” onto these new values but also contribute to generating more understanding of what being “sustainable” really means.

    New typologies of architecture must emerge to match these shifting value sets, and, naturally, these typologies often present themselves as startling, unsettling, and seemingly redundant, as they don’t follow typical industrialist standards as we know them. However, it is exactly this uncomfortable shift that is necessary to match the re-orientation of social and developmental values. Global leaders vow to reverse bio-diversity loss and the world economic forum estimates more than $44 trillion in annual economic generation depends on nature. Yet, it can still be overlooked that the only way to sustain nature is to integrate it, both in our philosophy and our materiality. Nature is inherently embedded in our systems, and if we are not nurturing it and being intentional about its integration, we are not allow for its native systems to take root and develop sustainable resilience amongst our human world.