Joshua Augustus Bacigalupi
Social Researcher + Public Designer
My vocation is to understand how people and their environments maintain vitality and thrive on this planet. Throughout my life, the synthesis of both artistic (qualitative) and scientific (quantitative) approaches ground this exploration. Towards these ends, as an undergraduate, I studied environmental science and physical chemistry at UCSB. To better understand the nexus between complex social and physical systems, I went on to study architecture earning a MArch from the University of Colorado, Denver, and studied municipal and urban space design in Finland and Italy. Upon return, I served as head designer for the flagship District no.1 police station in Denver that earned AIA and industry design awards. And, in 2002, I founded the residential design practice, BacigalupiWorks.
Around that same time, to better understand the discord surrounding the 9/11 attacks, I entered the World Trade Center Memorial Competition. This project initiated research into the use of interactive architecture to both explore and ameliorate the traumas surrounding human dynamics. This led to independent research of creative, learning and adaptive behavior in sentient creatures and the societies they populate. This research led to work with Prof. Terrance Deacon at UC Berkeley, and others, on thermodynamically grounded theories of semiotics and abiogenesis -- how living dynamics and semiosis emerge from non-living dynamics and sustain themselves.
At the social scale, I was able to implement many of these research ideas in practice at the Exploratorium where I co-developed the Studio for Public Spaces with Shawn Lani and others. We built a collaborative process and body of work that deeply explored these questions of vitality at the individual, community and institutional scales.
Sentient Societies is the next evolution of this praxis.