juan manuel prieto’s ‘habitable monsters’ of the future


Architect Juan Manuel Prieto delves into the world of AI-generated art to cultivate a new surreal breed of living architecture. His ‘Habitable Monsters’, ‘soft and hairy’ as Salvador Dali once famously imagined architecture of the future, present a more organic, and perhaps even grotesque alternative to the static, inert buildings we inhabit today. 


Urging us to ‘move into the warm womb of a living organism’, Prieto envisions dreamlike liveable structures with tentacles, fangs, and scales, which may even drool or sneeze at times, made using advanced biotechnology innovations. He proposes all future construction be replaced with these Habitable Monsters, for a new sustainable, energy efficient and accessible habitat norm.


To begin working towards this new housing norm, the architect proposes integrating recent innovations in the biotechnology industry — which have enabled advances like methods of editing DNA sequences and growing edible artificial meat in laboratories — into the field of construction. ‘Although we are still far from the cultivation (or breeding?) of buildings, there is no doubt that sooner or later it will happen and that it will be the next revolution in architecture,’ he comments.

AI-generated 'habitable monsters' by Juan Manuel Prieto envision energy-efficient homes with fangs, fur, and scales
‘Habitable Monsters’ | all images by Juan Manuel Prieto



imagining efficient, accessible, & biodegradable architecture


Juan Manuel Prieto envisions that once the technological is finally optimized to allow for such bounds in construction, they should be adapted to fulfil our housing needs. These outcomes will then surely surpass current approaches, such as ‘wrongly called Bio-architecture, [and] organic or biomorphic architecture will seem like a fraud, something decorative and superficial’. To convince us to consider this future of habitation, the architect lays out several reasons why someone might want to move into one of his Habitable Monsters.


Firstly, he notes that the structures will produce zero pollution. Currently, an estimated 40% of pollution can be attributed to construction activities — caused from mining, to production of materials, transportation, as well as energy consumption during the construction process. A habitable animal on the other hand, will not require any industrial or constructive process. It will be born from itself, grow organically, and be 100% biodegradable. It will even be able to expand according to our programmatic needs.


The monsters will also reduce energy consumption by eliminating the need for artificial air conditioning, ventilation and heating, with the introduction of walls, floors and ceilings made of muscle tissue, fur, and organic cells. These elements will be able to maintain a stable temperature inside.

AI-generated 'habitable monsters' by Juan Manuel Prieto envision energy-efficient homes with fangs, fur, and scales
the homes made from biotechnology innovations will replace the inert static structures of today



Next, the structures will resolve the dual problem of the housing deficit and housing surplus. ‘Habitable animals will only be able to subsist if they are inhabited, since they will require the waste of their hosts to subsist,’ explains Juan Manuel Prieto. While these innovations may be expensive at first, they will eventually become more affordable than any other type of building,  increasing access to decent housing for all.


‘Premium versions (perhaps with peacock feathers or Bengal cat fur) will surely exist, but no current building system that requires a huge initial investment in materials and labor will be able to compete with the cost of a newly grown habitable animal (perhaps an egg?) that will grow on its own,’ he says.


Further, by giving new meaning to the term self-build, they could also facilitate public policies and help reduce the astonishing percentage of precarious housing. He also considers that this technology may be able to regenerate and heal itself like any other living organism, thus requiring minimal maintenance like traditional construction.

AI-generated 'habitable monsters' by Juan Manuel Prieto envision energy-efficient homes with fangs, fur, and scales
the structures will be entirely energy efficient with walls and floors made of muscle tissue, fur, and organic cells



project info:


name: Habitable Monsters

designer: arch. Juan Manuel Prieto



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edited by: ravail khan | designboom