HOUSING THE NON—HUMAN
    video: 2:27
    station.plus 

    Chair of Arno Brandlhuber (DARCH, ETHZ)








Today, we are confronted with a new reality, characterized by a radical change that is happening — now. Five years ago, maybe even two, the consequences of climate change seemed distanced enough to not care. Too abstract, too blurry, too far away, to actually change our behavior and architectural practice. But how do we, as individuals and a profession, face the challenges of the current environmental crisis within the “given” economical, political and social system? How to manage climate change and take care of landscape and nature while our cities are still growing?

Firstly, we have to refocus our views. The ongoing environmental discussion, popularly summed up under the term “Anthropocene” —the age of man-made climate and environment— has a blind eye on the existence of a whole non-market driven sphere: from humans to non-humans. Other than the term suggests, it was neither whole humanity that polluted, wasted and exploited our planet, nor is it the only part of humanity that we should focus on.

In the end, it is about survival and the question becomes: how can we —humans, animals, plants— not only co-exist but co-inhabit our planet in a resourceful and circular manner. Taking care of those who have no mandate in our seemingly inevitable system. Supporting multi-species co-habitation as a new form of living together.

A post-humanist perspective, as intrinsically entangled, opens the human-centric view to a multiplicity of possibilities, experiences, and concrete models. If we decenter the human from the design practice and juxtapose other agents —from animals to plants to matter itself— it can help us to develop new architectural models: from small to big scale, from legal form to the built environment, from building details over typologies to operating systems. Models, which re-think and re-define our current understanding of punch-words such as “sustainability” or “resilience” and fill them with meaning.

Meaning, in the sense of telling the story behind an architectural design and showing the conflicts and solutions that lead to this proposal communicated through the medium of video. How to architect arguments for co-habitation?





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