Architecture After the Animal

Architecture After the Animal

Ammar Ahmed
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The Animal brings with it, among other things, a danger and fascination that comes from outside architecture and is never fully assimilated or appropriated by it. It raises, as a live subject, serious aesthetic, performative, and ethical expectations that are almost never fully met.

–Catherine Ingraham, "Architecture, Animal, Human: The Asymmetrical Condition"

One of the problems of the animal in architecture is that it’s alive in a way that is identical to the aliveness of humans. However, its life is regarded as of lesser value, which might suggest that its architectural value is also lesser. In fact, that’s not true. Its imagery has been used in symbolic, aesthetic realm of buildings since Renaissance. The animal is not only an eligible occupant like a human, it has the same needs for shelter and warmth. The animal can cross into, and be endangered as well as ennobled by buildings in a way that human generally cannot.

This studio will take a position on the convergence of urban animal life and human dwellings / architecture. The students will hypothesize and design ways in which an urban animal, currently an external agent, can shape the way in which we build our buildings, and will hence become an integral part of the conversation. How will we design the fundamental elements of architecture, like a window, a door, a wall, to make affordances for other bodies? Animals have the power to completely alter our way of thinking about ourselves, both the forms we make, live in and respond to. By taking a parallax view in which animal life would play a part, the studio will expand the vocabulary of architecture.

wood duck Cambridge

Brazos Bebinger
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Fire Wall

Azaria Molina
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The Fire Wall is a lifesize jar with fireflies on the outside and humans on the inside. This luminous threshold alters a human's perspective on the way people interact with fireflies. 

This is a jar with multiple layers of glass. Fireflies are in the middle of the two sheets of glass while people are in the inside. The area where the fireflies exist contains water and soil to maintain a sustainable food source (snails, worms, insects). This design allows humans to witness and experience the lifestyle of fireflies and how they communicate with each other. Fireflies are always around in warm weather. This gives people a chance to learn more about this animal and how fireflies can make an impact on their lives. 

The Salamander

Aviv Hirsch

Portfolio Board

Hannah Kader
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Welcoming Urban Coyotes

Henry Harkins
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Welcoming Urban Coyotes: an installation that allows humans and coyotes to interact more naturally. The habitat features a two-sided window which allows coyotes to live a natural life while humans secretly spectate. 

In the Boston area, coyotes are a rare sight specifically in urban areas. Coyotes habitat is a den that is not accessible to humans. The animals purposely create their homes away from human contact. The original coyote separated its day into four parts, the animal would sleep for six hours and then hunt for six hours on a repetitive cycle.  This cycle was disrupted over time for urban coyotes because of human interaction. Another goal is to have urban eastern coyotes to transition back to their original sleep schedule because the animals would have a more natural habitat.

 The project presents a two-sided window where humans can look in but coyotes can't see out. It is a natural zoo habitat. Traditionally, coyotes create dens with brush and thorns that are unappealing to humans. The project provides a safer way for humans to appreciate and acknowledge such an interesting animal.

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Uliana Dukach

Hidden Tail

Jacob Fishman
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Hidden Tail: A plant structure designed to protect cottontail rabbits from predators and provide food.

Lined across trees at the edge of a backyard, the user finds the trench-like threshold situated along the bark which covers the hole of a rabbit burrow, providing the rabbit's protection from those predators who have the ability to spot and attack the animal. Because of animals like the red tail hawk and coyote, rabbits are caused to dig themselves into the ground, creating a complex system of tunnels commonly known as burrows. As a result of these burrows, we find that the cottontail rabbits don’t like to come out because they fear that the moment that they go out into the world that they will find themselves on the dinner plate of a coyote. Hidden Tail uses plants to disguise the rabbit from a predator while also providing a source of hard to find food and shelter from the big world. By planting, growing and tending for this threshold humans get an indirect interaction with the rabbits keeping both parties safe.  Rabbits and people have the chance to gain a well-mannered and robust coexistence like never before.

Hidden Tail Project Board

Jacob Fishman
Hidden Tail Project

Project Board

Siena Jekel
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