Urban areas are quickly becoming the densest concentrations of human life on the planet and with that comes the well documented positive and negative impacts to local biodiversity and ecologies. But humans are not the only urban animals – squirrels, pigeons, mice, rats, crows, raccoons, beetles etc… are all species identified as synanthropes – animals that “live near, and benefit from, an association with humans and the somewhat artificial habitats that humans create around them.” These are highly-urbanized non-human animals and our potential design partners. Expanded hetero-cultures, urban agriculture, and a flexible, more resilient urbanism are all potential benefits of cross species collaborations. What other benefits exist?
The jury included Ned Dodington, Director, Animal Architecture; Simone Ferracina, 2012 An.Arch Awards Laureate; Fritz Haeg, Artist; Christopher Hight, Assoc. Professor, Rice University RSA; Jonathan LaRocca, Editor, Animal Architecture; Kate Orff, Asst. Professor, Columbia GSAPP, Founder of SCAPE; and Susan S. Szenasy, Editor in Chief, Metropolis Magazine.
BAT CLOUD, Joyce Hwang
Bat Cloud is a project bringing awareness and public visibility to bats and their critical role in our ecosystem. Installed in Tifft Nature Preserve, a park-like wooded setting developed on a former landfill in the industrial zone of Buffalo New York, BAT CLOUD is a hanging canopy of vessels that is designed and constructed to support bat habitation. From afar, the piece appears like a shimmering cloud, hovering in the trees. Closer up, viewers from below would be able to see plants hanging from each vessel. At dusk, onlookers can catch sight of bats emerging from the habitation vessels.
Joyce Hwang, AIA, is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, and the Director of Ants of the Prairie, an office of architectural practice and research that focuses on confronting contemporary ecological conditions through creative means. Currently she is developing a series of projects that incorporate wildlife habitats into constructed environments. Her most recent work – including “Bat Tower” (completed in 2010) – has been made possible by an Independent Projects Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), as well as a residency at the MacDowell Colony, where she was selected as a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow.
The production of Bat Cloud was a team effort. Primary collaborators included: Sze Wan Li (design and fabrication) and Mikaila Waters (concept design). Fabrication assistants included: Robert Yoos, Molly Hogle, Duane Warren, and Shawn Lewis. Project consultants included: Mark Bajorek (structures) and Katharina Dittmar (biology).
The installation of Bat Cloud was made possible by eleven (fearless) assistants: Matthieu Bain, Joshua Gardner, Shawn Lewis, Sze Wan Li, Sergio López-Piñeiro, Nellie Niespodzinski, Mark Nowaczyk, Alex Poklinkowski, Joseph Swerdlin, Duane Warren, and Robert Yoos. Additionally, thanks goes to Colleen Culleton and Justin Read of the UB Humanities Institute; and Lauren Makeyenko and David Spiering of Tifft Nature Preserve for facilitating the project’s installation.
GBHNPCB, Camilo Garcia, Diego Barajas and the Plataforma Husos Team
The GBHNPCB (GARDEN BUILDING WITH HOSTS AND NECTAR PLANTS FOR CALI’S BUTTERFLIES) is a house for butterflies and other insects, birds and people. It also houses working spaces for a woman-run design-atelier located in a central area of Cali. More than a functional structure however, The GBHNPCB is a biometer. By stimulating the presence of butterflies from the region through the use of plants that host and produce nectar to feed them, the GBWHNPC can perform as an indicator of the ecosystem’s biodiversity. Butterflies are not only one of the most effective bio indicators (their presence or absence is a sign of the environmental quality and biodiversity of an ecosystem), they are also particularly important in this region which concentrates the largest diversity of butterflies in the world.
Authors: Plataforma HUSOS: Camilo García (Cali, 1974) and Diego Barajas (Bogotá, 1975) (Architects) with Francisco Amaro (Madrid 1981) (Biologist)
Collaborators: Juan Pablo Arias, Junko Watanabe, Antonio Cobo
Construction: stage 1: Luis A. Ramirez Architect / stage 2: Camilo García
Steel structure: Jorge Mejia Engineer
Photography: Javier García, Manuel Salinas.
Acknowledgments: Fundación Zoológico de Cali, Douglas Laing (Agronomical Engineer specialist in tropical agriculture), Lorena Ramírez (Biologist. Universidad del Valle. Colombia), Luis M. Constantino (Biologist Entomologist, Ms.C, Associate Researcher National Centre for Investigations in Coffee. Cenicafé. Chinchiná), Ricardo A. Claro (Biologist Entomologist. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Colombia), José Martín Cano (Biologist Entomologist. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), María García, Manuel Salinas y Julián Velásquez.
HANNAFORE TILE-POOL, Daniel Metcalfe
The Hannafore Tile-Pool subtly and cleverly utilizes already occurring ecological processes to make a simple walkway on the beach safer for humans and tidal species. The result is a tile system that actually traps small pools of water at low tide beneath a walkable and textured surface. The polls are ideal spaces marine species to get in and out and the cover aligns with the level of the walkway and is textured to create additional traction.
URBAN HEDGEROW, Lisa Lee Benjamin
The Urban Hedgerow is a series of urban-animal friendly installations. The project creates wall mounted vertical forms which can be comprised of collected sticks, industrial components, lumber discards and clippings from parks, yards, and forgotten city bits. The ambition is to create space and allow more of our wild world into the city, and to make people grapple with where they draw the line between wild neighbor and pest.
Urban hedgerow suggests that we, Humans are also “nature” and the project inspires all of us to be a little more tolerant and a little more natural. Allowing for our “nature” means tolerating degrees of neglect and chaos, and cultivating enjoyment, delight, and even awe. The aim is to provoke these experiences in the humans astride these Urban Hedgerows as the installations provide sustenance and habitat for an abundance of insects, animals and plants.
THE DOMINO EFFECT, Andrew Daley
The Domino Effect proposes to combine the restorative powers of a Bath House with the educational attributes of an aquarium along with a healthy dose of pet-therapy. The Domino Effect works against the lack of human interaction with various aquatic species, and with the urban dweller’s need for relaxation. Productive programmatic juxtapositions between human and non-human zones allow for a heightening of the healing process and cross-species introductions. The Domino Effect allows species to not only cohabitate but physically and sensorially interact increasing our human sensitivity to the needs and functions of animal life.
OCEANIC AGRICULTURE, Daniel Moffatt
Oceanic Agriculture is a marine strategy for rapid deployment of food-aid in times of prolonged civic stress. The design proposes to generate a flotilla of horizontal surfaces that become deployable seafaring farmlands. Oceanic Agriculture pairs the exigencies of organizations such as the World Food Program and the Global Food Crisis Program, with current disposal and mothball strategies for large military, commercial and private maritime vessels. Traveling and operating in international waters, this new aggregate territory breaks free from governmental control by any one nation. Once moored, the fleet loses and gains more or less “land” depending on season and cultural diet. Smaller ferries and feeder boats transport bounties between coastlines and supply decks. Through aggregation, the singular fields become a farm – the farm increases in scale toward the city and the city begins to constitute a free-range nation.
CART COOP, Crookedworks – Carey Clouse and Zach Lamb
The Cart Coop is a prototype chicken coop that elevates an abandoned shopping cart to a replicable model for urban food production. Abandoned shopping carts have become ubiquitous detritus in the urban realm; littering underused parking lots, streets, and even fragile urban ecosystems. With relatively little effort, shopping carts can be transformed into functional mobile chicken coops. Their modular form can scale up to accommodate a growing flock, or be rearranged to fit a wide variety of spaces. Their sturdy mesh sides provide protection from predators, plentiful ventilation, and positive drainage when the unit is hosed down. The Cart Coop co-opts the shopping cart to create a movable agricultural infrastructure to fit the demands of mobile urban dwellers.
URBAN TRANSHUMANCE, KyungJin Hong
Urban Transhumance explores urban farming as viable urban renewal option by proposing to transform Grand Boulevard in Detroit Michigan into a functional and productive agricultural space with the help of a herd of migratory sheep. The median of Grand Boulevard would be used for the production of farm crops with the sheep playing an integral role to help maintain, fertilize and instigate crop rotation cycles. In the project the boulevard is divided into 6 segments based on sheep’s one day walking capability. Each segment has a small pasture with a barn and wetland for a goat’s temporary stay. A variety of methods of protecting the sheep against predators, as well as attractors and detractors are used to design routes through the city and influence the flow of the herd. At the end of their migratory cycle around the city the sheep are loaded onto a pastoral barge and taken down the Detroit River border to their starting point and the cycle can begin again.
BEEHIVE HIGHRISE, Julie Shell
Urban parks need bees; The Bee’s population is in danger. BeehiveHighrise: is the urbanized version of a beekeeper’s hive. Beehive Highrise utilizes a redesigned hive system enabling access from the sides, with each tray fitting snugly and keeping the box enclosed. Individual hives can be lined up in rows as well as stacked, forming a wall of hives that could be shared among several beekeepers. Beehive Highrise hopes to create new productive homes for urban bees and combat the Human Fear of bees through education and cross-species interaction.