The Human Factory

Type: Rice School of Architecture, Studio Project 
Year: 2017
Instructor: Tei Carpenter
In today’s medical world, the human body is artificially constructed and constantly changing. With the advance in technologies and research, human body is seen as a transformable matter that is targeted to be ever more perfect. The human body is a site of production and consumption; it is constantly modified and commodified. Consequently, the human body is unstable, unpredictable, and incomplete: it is always in progress.
As medical production transforms the human body, reciprocally, the human body becomes at once the product and commodity. Medical technologies enable the commodification of the body, while current market economy catalyzes it. At Texas Medical Center, patients are buyers.
This project argues that such commodification of the human body has generated two opposite phenomena: production and consumption.
Production refers to the field of science and treatment, while consumption is the ongoing modification for perfection of the human body.
The prototype consists of two elements: a fixed three-dimensional grid represents the rigid and stable framework and an alien, unstable, and formless fluid that invades the system, which is consumption. This formless operation suggests that, much like Robert Smithson’s Asphalt Rundown, an analog process can yield to unlimited production of variations due to its unpredictable nature.
The fabrication of the prototype relies on using a material that is malleable at first and gains rigidity once molded: spray foam and concrete.