Jorge Mario Castillo Velasquez is an architect and civil engineer from Colombia. After leading a successful career in Latin America, Jorge moved to Australia to study at RMIT School of Design Master of Design Innovation and Technology (MDIT), where his initial passion for design and engineering is expending to new territories such as speculative design, biodesign, interaction design and parametric architecture.


Symbiome is a breakthrough architectural concept using both biodesign and biomimicry as an approach to promote Mangrove regeneration in the megacity of Jakarta, Indonesia. Its purpose; to raise awareness on, and address Jakarta’s main environmental concerns: floodings, city sinking and water pollution. The building’s architecture works as an artificial bio-system protecting the city from sea floods and rising sea levels. Replicating the role of a natural mangrove forest, it organically desalinates and filters seawater, and provides a substitute to city groundwater consumption. If implemented at scale, Symbiome could help restore Jakarta’s marine biodiversity and ecosystem whilst proposing a new model for urban sustainable living.

The Symbiome concept was originally developed in 2019 by a partnership between RMIT School of Design Master of Design Innovation and Technology (MDIT) and School of Fashion and Textiles Bachelor of Design (Fashion) (Honours) students under the supervision of RMIT School of Design Industry Fellow and Lecturer Dr Ollie Cotsaftis and material scientist and artist JJ Hastings. Symbiome was then presented at both Parsons School of Design and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, USA—where it was named a finalist of the 2019 Biodesign Challenge.

The design team wishes to acknowledge Vaibhav Bansal, graphic designer and RMIT School of Design MDIT former student for his help with brand development and communication design.


We acknowledge the Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung people of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the lands on which our events are held, as well as traditional owners of lands on which we work across the region. We recognise that sovereignty over these lands and waters has never been ceded, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.

RMIT University RMIT Master of Design Futures Paper Giant Rosenfeld Media Melbourne Speculative Futures Service Design Melbourne