Autonomy & Autodigestion

Metabolic Systems in Informal Architectures

A collaboration with Lydia Kapolliti, the exhibit ‘Autonomy & Autodigestion’ traces the forms and ideas of ecology in ‘informal’ architecture since the mid-1960s.

Resources, Recirculation, & Digestion

“Autonomy & Autodigestion” maps a counter history of “autonomy” in architectural production. Whereas the word autonomy is commonly linked to Rudolf Wittkower, Colin Rowe and Peter Eisenman, this project documents alternative uses of the word “autonomy” as related to the recirculation of resources in urban environments and the function of the building stock as a digestive device; “autonomy” as used to popularize an ecological and libertarian way of living and acting and to herald “autonomy” from the grid of supplies.

Eco-Autonomy & Architectural Experiments

Structured as a timeline, the exhibit focuses on realized living experiments, which projected material autonomy within the context of urban areas. Gathered into “seven cities,” or autonomous urban ideals, each series traces how its case studies contributed to the offspring of new economies, informal adaptations, and self-sufficient islands in the city. With and between these thematic geneaologies, the color-coded posters and introductory diagrams draw out common actors, organizational principles and larger discursive links.


Meg Studer designed the exhibition layout and developed the ‘cities’ diagrams (after AT&T) for the collaborative exhibition, Autonomy & Autodigestion, with Lydia Kalpolti (ANAcycle think tank/RIT). Additional research and production assistance was provided by Kyong Kim, Royd Zhang, and Ellen Wong.

  • 2015, BI-CITY Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (Honorary Mention)
  • 2016, “Seven Cities” in UABB 2015 Catalog (v2, Radical Urbanism)
  • 2017, “Seven Cities” in Bi-City Biennale of Architecture + Urbanism (UABB): Re-Living the City, ed. Aaron Betsky, et. al. (New York: Actar).
  • rhino – spatial modeling and layout mock-ups
  • InD – print layouts and formatted files
  • excel/ai – proposal graphics and material specs

Environmental Systems & Structures

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