Satoru Sugihara (US/JP): Gem of Lives

Gem of Lives is a work inspired by the historical context of Toad Hill in Taipei, where it was first exhibited during Space Media Festival. Toad Hill is a site with a complex history, a contentious village which the residents built with the limited supplies and materials they had at hand. The piece wants to shine a light on the human aspect of this site – the daily lives of the residents, their memories with families and neighbors.

To reflect this context, the installation structure is built with the materials used in the DIY-style buildings of the site, such as corrugated plastics and wood studs. While the materials and the structure’s resemblance to a temporary shelter make a clear historical reference, the form and construction methods are distinctively contemporary, using generative systems, physics simulations, computational technology, and digital fabrication, presenting the idea of not mere preservation, but coevolution, where progress and heritage inform each other. The physical structure is designed by Satoru Sugihara, usin an agent-based computational design method, inspired by flocking birds and swarming insects, to embody emergent complexity. Echoing the design, a lighting and movement performance around and within the structure was performed in Taiwan, created by artist Mike Rijnierse, in collaboration with Satoru Sugihara and Space Media Festival workshop participants.

Commissioned for Space Media Festival 2016 (Taipei) and Modern Body Festival 2016 (The Hague).

Architectural installation

December 2-3

12:00 – 20:00

Pavilloen Baruch (Gemak)


Satoru Sugihara
Workshop: WE – Agent-Based Choreographic Tactics



Satoru Sugihara (US/JP) is a leading computational designer working in the field of architecture, and a faculty member at Southern California Institute of Architecture. In 2012 he founded ATLV, a computational design firm based in Los Angeles. The studio pushes the boundaries of practice and research in contemporary architecture and spatial design, employing algorithms alongside electronic hardware and robotics to seek broader ideas of design, fabrication, and process. Prior to ATLV, Satoru worked as a computational designer at Morphosis Architects engaging in large-scale construction and research projects, and as a researcher in media art and interaction design. He is also the developer of open-source 3D computational design software iGeo. Satoru holds a Master’s degree in Architecture from University of California Los Angeles and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Tokyo Institute of Technology. He has taught at Architectural Association’s Visiting School, the University of British Columbia, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Malaquais, Woodbury University and Tokyo University of the Arts.