Designer David Benjamin established his New York City practice, The Living, in 2009. RECORD asked him five questions about his work in preparation for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Scroll through the slideshow above to see some of his key projects.

Architectural Record: Tell us about your practice. What differentiates you from other firms?

The Living explores ideas and technologies for tomorrow while applying them to real-world built projects today. The studio combines research and practice with a focus on biology and the environment, from the scale of the brick to the scale of the city. Recently, the studio has articulated three frameworks for harnessing living organisms for architecture: bio-computing, bio-sensing, and bio-manufacturing.

How do you get into the creative headspace?

By exercising and increasing blood flow.

Who are your design heroes?

Cedric Price, Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames, Kisho Kurokawa, Le Corbusier, Vittorio Garatti, Futurefarmers, Bernard Tschumi, and Jacques Tati.

What do you hope to contribute to the Chicago Biennial?

We hope to contribute a sense of wonder and a notion of design with uncertainty. Our project is called "Capsule Dreams," and it reinterprets the Nakagin Capsule Tower—and the broader Metabolism Movement—by projecting multiple visions of the future into a series of apartment cells. These evolving dreams and narratives are a crucial nutrient for architecture.

Most importantly, when it comes to pizza, deep dish or thin crust?

Thin, New York–style.


The Chicago Architecture Biennial runs from September 19, 2017, to January 7, 2018. Read more of our coverage of the event here.