Authors : Carlo Bailey and Lorenzo Villaggi

University : Columbia University, GSAPP

Status : MArch, 2013

Advisor : Charles Eldred

Title : EIDOS  [or]  When Desire Becomes Matter


Eidos is a prototypical self-sufficient community based sometime in the near future. The project seeks to manage difference and individualism within spatial collectivity. Additive manufacturing technologies (7-axis 3D printing robots) are employed to facilitate a housing complex that is the physical manifestation of its inhabitants wants, executed within a rigid rule-set of constraints that allow for maximum autonomy and expression. The rule-set consists of a set of algorithms, a “DNA” structure programmed into the robots which feed both environmental and the inhabitant’s desires as inputs to enable the construction of units and the building’s infrastructure. The rules become manifest both at the macroscopic scale – apartments, lot size, distance between units, maximum and minimum floor area – and at the the microscopic scale – walkways, fenestration, room sizes etc.

Organization & Massing

The organization of the complex wants to be as generic and uniform as possible, with the least amount of input from the architect’s hand. The sun’s movement across the site was analyzed to define the optimum placement of light wells and breaks in the grid to minimize shadows and bring light to the ground plane. Cuts in the massing and grid are introduced on the ground to provide connections through to adjacent city blocks and extend the Manhattan grid. The market-place is located on the ground floor with the school lying on the two floors above. The communal areas are strategically located adjacent to the four vertical circulation cores and are intertwined with the housing units throughout the remaining floors of the complex.


The public program of Eidos consists of educational facilities that train those who want to learn design tools and rapid fabrication skills, a market-place for those who sell locally produced 3D printed goods, and communal areas which provide a generic space where the manufacturing and production of goods can be practiced informally. The inward looking communal areas seek to counter the “private single-balcony” typology and encourage community activities and shared spaces. A degree of economical and cultural autonomy will be achieved by the community thanks to a resilient and autonomous form of production and adaptable spatial conditions over time.


The housing complex consists of a tubular steel mega-structure (the only explicit trace of the architect’s hand). It has the combined function of being the tracks that the robots run along and the (infra)structure that upholds the housing units. The 8’ x 8’ grid relentlessly exhausts the horizontal plane across the site and is constantly expressed throughout the project – piercing bedrooms, living rooms and at times visible on unit facades. The grid however changes to a 16’ x 16’ spacing in the spaces of production and school areas. Each inhabitant is assigned a given lot area when joining the community (which can be expanded or contracted depending on need and availability of space); the inhabitant is then free to request any architectural style to her house and spatial configuration. The housing units are printed using a concrete + polymer composite with varying chromatic tones. Each detail is reproduced with fidelity and high resolution.


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we, the audience, should be aware of?
Carlo Bailey + Lorenzo Villaggi_ Eidos is an entity whose existence precedes essence. Meaning its point of departure is subjectivity and its outcome unknown. Not the subjectivity of a single transcendent entity (the architect), but the will of the many inhabitants that will define what Eidos could become. However, this does not give rise to endless individual microcosms, but rather intertwines the values, aesthetics and desires of every inhabitant to such an extent that individual preference is lost. In the aggregation of 200 units desires are bastardized, individual expression sodomized and autonomy flattened.

S//A : What is your dream project?
CB + LV_ Designing a Mongolian Yurt for the Burning Man festival