Coincidence or evolution? Microscopic diatoms and post-war domed structures often exhibit the same underlying structural features, even though we have evidence that these coincidences were not deliberately intended by the architect. Inspired by this surprising discovery, in 1961 biologist Gerhard Helmcke and architect Frei Otto founded the interdisciplinary working group at the Technische Universität Berlin.

The objective of this collaboration was to reach a better understanding of biology, technology and architecture, and to outline the principles of “natural building”. Their research aims first of all to bring about an improved understanding of our surroundings, but also to ensure that the future of our architectural environment is informed by the tension between technology and nature.

Three-dimensional electron microscopy, early methods of computer-based graphics (like Konrad Zuse’s Graphomat) and other methods of visualization make it possible to identify analogies between nature and technology.

Building upon the collaboration between Helmcke and Otto, this exhibition takes a look at research in the field of architecture, art and science that deals with the relationship between perception, image and knowledge. It was curated in collaboration with students from the Design Faculty and the Institute for History and Theory of Design at the Universität der Künste Berlin, and from the History of Science Module in Faculty I at the Technische Universität Berlin.