A spatial installation by Studio Ossidiana explores how architecture might mediate between all sorts of creatures, making room for a variety of encounters and setting the stage for interactions between humans and non-humans. The installation is an environment occupied by drawings, diagrams and architectural models – creature-like objects – that address issues of proximity, scale and cross-species politics.
Through the display of a series of emblematic projects, various relationships between the human and non-human world are made tangible. The installation is based on Giovanni Bellotti’s prior thesis research on bird habitats and bird cages (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2018), and on Studio Ossidiana’s current creative residency at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht.
Also occupying this environment is an archive selection centred around the educational vision of architect Aldo van Eyck. It includes a student project for an aquarium by Jan Verhoeven and a hippopotamus shelter by Joost Váhl. These structuralist approaches to animal architecture propose a relational and ecological understanding of the animal-human encounter.
Further expanding on ecology and systems theory is the intervention by Evangelos Kotsioris, assistant curator at MoMA. Kotsioris will be a visiting scholar in November and will present his research on cybernetics, computerization and architecture during a public seminar.
Variations On A Bird Cage
On 14 November Giovanni Bellotti and Alessandra Covini of Studio Ossidiana talk about the Animal Encounters installation and their research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht. Afterwards, they discuss architecture, ecology and cross-species exchange with Dirk van den Heuvel.
Animal Encounters and the architecture collection
In addition to Studio Ossidiana’s research, Animal Encounters showcases a selection of projects from the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning. These propose a relational understanding of the animal-human encounter and expand the ecological to notions of systems theory.
Birds of a Feather: From Habitus to Habitat
Hadas Steiner (University at Buffalo, NY) will give a lecture about the history of ecological thinking in architecture and urban planning. She will talk about how this concept entered the architectural discourse through the biological sciences, and how the understanding of these terms changed throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s as they were variously reinterpreted and employed by architects like Alison and Peter Smithson or John McHale. Among other topics, she will discuss the ornithological architecture of Cedric Price, who designed the aviary for the London Zoo.
Habitat: Expanding Architecture
Habitat: Expanding Architecture is a research installation which captures a key moment in the history of architecture and urban planning: the tenth CIAM conference at Dubrovnik in 1956. Here the concept 'habitat' was a central theme: a broader understanding of architecture through a new ecological approach viewing architecture less as an autonomous discipline than as part of larger, dynamic whole. Habitat is the first in a series of Total Space programme installations.