Living Dialogs

Can the buildings that we live in come alive? Could such living buildings help us to create a healthier, more sustainable future? Could they become adaptive, resilient structures that care for the planet while empathizing, comforting and inspiring us? The Living Dialogs series brings together scholars and thinkers to collectively reflect on living architecture and its implications for our changing world.

In each episode, guests and listeners are invited to reflect on prompts designed to encourage thoughtful, in-depth discussion. You are invited to contribute your own thoughts and questions, which may be taken up at the Living Dialogs Webinar with the same guests a couple of weeks following each episode’s release (webinar info in sidebar).

This extended format is born of our belief that knowledge creation is also a collaborative and living endeavour – that meaning is not simply created through the exchange of information but that ideas are formed through open and emergent conversations.

192.61 MB

Podcast S1E1: Principles, Aesthetics, and Sustainability of Living Architecture

With Jenny Sabin, Mitchell Joachim, Philip Beesley

35:03 —

March 15, 2021

In this episode, expert architects and designers Jenny Sabin, Mitchell Joachim, and Philip Beesley consider the core principles, aesthetics, and sustainability of living architecture.


Supported by the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative, Michigan State University Center for Interdisciplinarity and the University of Waterloo.

  • Toolbox Dialogue Initiative
  • Michigan State University Center for Interdisciplinarity
  • University of Waterloo

Your Thoughts

In each Living Dialogs episode, guests and listeners are offered a number of prompts for reflection.  In this episode, the prompts considered by the guests are listed below. We encourage you to spend some time considering them, and leave us your thoughts or questions on the prompts or on living architecture more generally.  Then, join us a couple of weeks following the episode release for the Living Dialogs Webinar (information in sidebar) with the same guests, during which some of your thoughts and questions may be taken up for further discussion.  The webinar will also include a live Q&A portion.

The following prompts were discussed in our first episode of Living Dialogs. The guests opened the discussion by stating how they scored their level of disagreement or agreement with each statement. The scale goes from 1 to 5, 1-disagree to 5-agree. Guests then elaborate on their rationale for the position they took. There are no right or wrong answers to these statements, and the goal is not to convince each other to converge. They are simply a grounding mechanism for opening a free-flowing conversation between guests.


  1. The living architecture community has identified clear principles for what qualifies as living architecture.
  2. Within living architecture, utility should be prioritized over aesthetics.
  3. The primary goal of living architecture should be to engineer sustainable living.

Note: comments are moderated, so there may be some delay on submission.