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Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold By Samuel Leach Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 / University of Brighton

Submission Date: 08/03/2013 Tutor : Mark Campbell Word Count: 6,480

Non-anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold: The Issue It can be argued that the primary concern of architecture in recent decades has been to provide sanctuary from the external environment, through materially expressed sealed envelopes and supplementary climate control technology. This separation has reinforced our conceptions of a dichotomous human/nature divide, in which elements of the natural world are categorised as either beneficial or detrimental to human prosperity. Only through the growing attention to systems thinking has the super-complexity of our relations to nature finally arisen, calling for a reassessment of the way we position ourselves to nature within the built environment. Focus and Method This paper presents a critique of projects and current theoretic debate. This will focus on projects which attempt to recalibrate conceptions of human/nature relations through a non-anthropocentric agenda. Included within this dissertation will be theoretical reflection on the application of similar approaches within my current design thesis project. My central focus will be limited to the role of the architectural boundary in defining human/animal territories, while pertaining to the broader discussion of the human/ nature divide. Part one will look beyond the technological sustainability debate to the more comprehensive issue of our disengagement with the natural environment. The architectural element of this argument will be focused on the physical means in which we have separated ourselves from nature, pertaining to the school of thought initiated by Reyner Banham’s seminal essay “The Architecture of a Well Tempered Environment.”1 The theoretical element will compare our psychological and anthropological relation with non-human species, as have been examined by the biologist, J.D. Glass and Professor of Architecture at Pratt Institute, Catherine Ingraham. Part two will contribute to the realm of non-anthropocentric design through summary and critique of historical and current projects and design methods which re-engage with non-human species. This will conclude with an introduction to the similar approaches I have applied within my design thesis project. Key Words auxiliary architecture, environmental modulation, extended threshold, material performance, material and spatial organisation complex, multi-functional hybrid envelopes, non-anthropocentric, systems theory (Refer to Glossary for definitions – p. 52)

Sam Leach, ‘Ground and Envelope’, Physical Model, 2012 Ai 323-AIM 19, MArch 1, University of Brighton Studio Tutor: Jeffrey Turko

Opposite Right Sam Leach, ‘Pilot Project: Material and Visual Continuity for Collaborative Environments’, 2012 Ai 323-AIM 19, MArch 2, University of Brighton Studio Tutors: Jeffrey Turko & Nathaniel Kolbe

Orientation to Studio Design Work This research study runs parallel to my design studio thesis which is co-ordinated by Jeffrey Turko, a key member of the OCEAN Design Research Association. Consequently, the focus of the design studio unit is on themes of the ground and envelope, the four domains of active agency and material performance. Study within this studio is undertaken through empirical research of architectural case studies, diagramming and indexical mapping, and experimentation through design models. This approach of research by design will aid my research study by providing a scenario for test-driving the theoretical research within this essay, which in turn will aid the development of my design thesis. Background My interest evolved from the study of Michael U. Hensel’s essays on ‘Performance-oriented architecture’ and Birger Sevaldson’s essay on ‘Systems-oriented design’. These initiated a shift in my perspective on the potential role of the building envelope and designing within complex systems. Rather than acting as a separating element, the building envelope can extend the transition from exterior to interior through the modulation of environments. The specific focus of this research was decided upon discovering the work of David Gissen. His notion of ‘natural and subnatural’ explores the human disassociation with that which we deem undesirable but cannot escape. This led me to question the influence of the built environment on our psychological separation of animal and human worlds. Gissen elaborates on the above in the publication ‘Subnature: Architecture’s Other Environments’, 2009.

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'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2

“I had to tame him. It was at that moment that I realized this necessity. It was not a question of him or me, but of him and me.” (Martel, 2001: p. 181)1

I : Introduction We live in a time of fearmongering and denial. We are constantly reminded of the causes and devastating consequences of our activities on the planet, yet we continue to detach ourselves from the problem. It is widely known that buildings account for a significant percentage of energy use and carbon emissions. However, could the design of buildings themselves be influencing our psychological position towards nature?

Part One – Towards a Non-anthropocentric Thinking

II: THE SUSTAINABILITY DEBATE While the energy consumption of buildings has undoubtedly been an ongoing issue, I believe there are more design related issues that 'sustainable' architecture has neglected to address. 'Sustainability' is a word which, like the titles of many other architectural movements, has become illegitimately associated with architecture of the last two decades. Its use may be an indicator of good intentions, yet its application in architecture rarely extends beyond the addition of renewable technologies and the satisfaction of generic 'green' criteria. While these technological advances should not be dismissed, as architects should our contribution to sustainable design be surrendered to environmental scientists and the like? 1 Martel, Y. Life of Pi, 181.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 The word 'sustainability' increasingly carries negative connotations relating to reduction and compromised luxury, yet a more appropriate association would be diversity and productivity, surely things to be celebrated. American biologist David Zeigler writes that biodiversity is a broad subject that includes diversity of behaviour, culture and ecological interactions. As he asserts, “Biodiversity includes all detectable parameters along which we find diversity in living organisms�.2 If the natural world is diverse on multiple levels, surely a built environment that prioritises low energy consumption and standardised design over diversity is unsustainable? Despite its widespread promotion, sustainability and biodiversity consideration remains a footnote in the design process of buildings. For instance, the consideration of other species in large scale developments is often limited to resentful compliance with legislation enforced by governing bodies such as the Environment Agency. Noise level restrictions and construction work schedules are the usual constraints of such legislation, but little focus is given to genuine inclusion of other species (some of which may be endangered) within the design strategy. This is most certainly the case with the current development at Kings Cross by developer Argent, where my current design project is located. Existing 'wildsite' habitats are to be replaced with manicured rows of vegetation and green roofs, both of which are far detached from the natural environment inhabited by existing species. (fig 1.1-1.2) These supplementary additions have little involvement in the design process, least of all the social, cultural and natural dynamics of the site.

III : THE PHYSICAL MEANS OF SEPARATION I believe that the reliance on supplementary procedures for environmental considerations stems from a disregard for the fundamentals of architecture, most importantly materiality and design process rather than product.

2 Zeigler, D. Preface to Understanding Biodiversity, x.


Fig. 1.1 Existing ‘Wildsite’ at Kings Cross, London These seemingly neglected and redundant areas are thriving habitats for insects, providing food for bird species.

Fig. 1.2 Visualisation of Proposed Residential District at Kings Cross, London, Argent Sparse vegetation is intended to satisfy the requirements of existing animal species. Notice the ratio of vegetation to hard landscaping proposed.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 David Leatherbarrow has argued that the importance of material selection in architecture has long been underestimated by architects. He criticises the impulse to attach human definition to architectural materials and constructs, suggesting we should, “…see human things or artifacts as part of nature, rejecting the wornout man-nature distinction”.3 This is perhaps more applicable than ever, as climate control technology demotes the selection of materials to an afterthought based loosely on aesthetics. Not only do the properties of materials respond to climatic conditions and alternate over time, but they shape an environment which is responded to by humans and non-human species alike. The need for considerate negotiation of material selection is clear. However, it is important to remember in buildings with prolonged human occupation, material selection alone will not be sufficient to fully meet human needs. Architectural critic Reyner Banham posited that, “… in order to flourish rather than merely survive, mankind needs more ease and leisure than a barefisted, and barebacked, single-handed struggle to exist could permit.”4 For this reason, the accommodation of energy sources and outputs has always been an integral part of the design and spatial organisation of buildings. For example, the location of fireplaces to maximise their efficiency, and the ancillary plant rooms and service voids which accommodate climate control technology. It is only in the last few decades since the adoption of mechanical means of climate control that the reliance on energy sources has intensified. This technology has since been exploited as the solution for environmental issues, reducing the envelope to an inarticulate boundary that is indifferent to its surroundings. Along with the increasingly relevant argument of high energy consumption and sustainability, the architectural boundary has become a materially expressed transition line between the uncontrolled exterior climate and the fully regulated singular climate of the interior. This separation goes further than an exclusion of inclement weather conditions, however, and now amounts to the exclusion of the 3 Leatherbarrow, D. The Roots of Architectural Invention, 161. 4 Banham, R. “Environmental Management”, 18.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 diverse range of constituents of entire ecosystems within which the building is located. These human/nature separations have been readily challenged by systemstheory, but should we submit to coexisting with nature in our buildings as we do outside of them?

IV : THE INFLUENCE OF ARCHICTECTURE ON NATURE As architects, our expertise within the realm of biology is generally limited. This considered, it is understandable that our recent approach to other species has been to either exclude them from our buildings, or try to limit our encroachment on their habitats. Indeed, the architectural pursuit for permanence and stability allows no room for the uncontrollability of nature. This is why I have chosen to use the term “non-anthropocentric”, because it implies a more holistic view of architecture's influence within the environment. Consequently, it may be more appropriate to suggest an approach in which our influence on nature (and vice-versa) may become more apparent to its human occupants. The homogeneous internal environments we create are so far detached from the nature of the site, and in doing so we define ourselves as a separate entity. Likewise the agenda of architecture should not necessarily be to redesign the natural habitats of other species, but rather acknowledge that other species already inhabit a world shaped by architecture. No more is this apparent than in the rapid disappearance of species once thought of as common to our native habitats. Specifically within the UK, during the past 6 months alone there have been urgent calls for the public to participate in the surveying of butterfly and hedgehog species, led by respected naturalists such as Sir David Attenborough.5,6 The precise cause of the rapid depopulation of these species is unknown. Extreme weather conditions have most certainly contributed, but many have speculated that human activities, such as increased road traffic, persistent lawn

5 Barkham, P. “David Attenborough calls for help as butterflies face worst year ever” 6 Vaughan, A. “Hedgehog poulation in dramatic decline”


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 cutting and habitat fragmentation,7 are also to blame. Despite these claims, certain disappearing species such as the house sparrow are considered to be relatively tolerant of human activity. Therefore, we can only assume it is not our presence that has affected their populations, but rather the way we have reorganised their environments through vegetation clearance, soil removal, hard landscaping and a decrease in penetrable structures. (fig. 2.1-2.2) These statistics emphasise the necessity for human re-engagement with other species in order to foreground the detrimental impact of our activity on their survival. The reduction in species populations is more readily apparent to those living in rural areas, but because the presence of these species has become a rarity in urban areas this issue is possibly less evident to city dwellers.

V : CROSS-SPECIES COHABITATION AND ANIMAL ARCHITECTURES With regard to our reorganisation of the environment, there is no reason why a built structure could not provide the same conditions for habitation as a tree. A suitable example of this is Fritz Haeg's Animal Estates, which offer not only new methods for accommodating animal species, but also new methods for considering them within the design process. Through collaboration with wildlife experts his projects, which include performances, wildlife structures and workshops, aim to reintroduce species into their previous habitats and the public spotlight. (fig. 2.3-2.4) As a result the public are more aware of the territories they share with other species and are more attuned to fluctuations in their population numbers. Essentially, this approach calls for site specific biodiversity studies and the requirements of relevant species alongside the engagement of the public. As American Paleontologist Steven Jay Gould has stated, “We cannot win this battle to save species and environments without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature as well�.

7 Habitat fragmentation can include an increase in built space, which reduces the total area of habitat space, and the separation of habitats into small fragments through roads and agriculture.


Fig. 2.1 Pigeon Deterrent Measures Some extreme measure are taken in order to displace the pigeon species

Fig. 2.2 Racoons Scavenging in Human Rubbish Are these animals pests? Or have we encouraged and influenced their inconvenient behaviour.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 The urbanist and director of Urban Laboratory at UCL, Ben Campkin draws our attention to animal architectures and animal occupied man-made structures. To inform new methods of designing, his article, 'Bugs, Bats and Animal Estates' cites recent architectural approaches that aim to re-consolidate our relationship with animals. Campkin's intention is to increase our awareness of their influence in our environment, highlighting practical ways in which we can coexist with so-called 'pests' without resorting to unbounded cohabitation. As he notes, “Considerations of the exchanges between animals and architecture take us beyond the isolated architectural object and of context as site, helping us to understand the architectural production of nature and to rethink architecture and architects' zones of influence, connecting buildings to their environs in dynamic ways.”8 An understanding of these exchanges relies on biological research and systems thinking, and while architects are not qualified to make assumptions on animal behaviour and interrelatedness, our engagement with professionals in zoology and entomology could instigate architectural solutions which enhance the role of nonhuman species in the built environment. Furthermore, Campkin's appraisal of animal inspired architecture shifts the inclusion of these species as ancillary to fully embedded within the design process. The complex issue of our engagement with biodiversity extends beyond the design of habitable structures for animals. Zeigler argues that, “...the earth's biodiversity is so vast, complex and multilevered that no one could possibly comprehend it all.”9 This reinforces the argument that architecture should avoid designing new ecosystems for other species, but rather position itself towards raising awareness or understanding of existing ecosystems. Such is the title of Zeigler's book 'Understanding Biodiversity', and his affirmation, “Only then can we know how special this world actually is... and how worthy of our awe and protection it is”10

8 Campkin, B. “Bugs, Bats & Animal Estates: The Architectural Territories of Wild Beasts”, 36. 9 Zeigler, D. Preface to Understanding Biodiversity, x. 10 Ibid. p. xi


Fig. 2.3 Fritz Haeg, Animal Estates, New York, 2008 Animal inclusion as a central feature of the architecture, emphasising the urban environment as a human/animal shared territory

Fig. 2.4 Starling Box - Brick Facing The icnlusion of other species can be non-discrete.


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'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 Expanding on the issue of the human/nature disassociation, Gissen argues that “architecture and nature are produced simultaneously.” If this is the case, then our attempts to reintroduce nature into the urban environment through grass verges and sparse foliage may be in vain. Such soft landscaping seen in large scale development schemes has little to do with ecology and more to do with idealised 'green' imagery. Green roofs and 'living' walls may offer some benefits for mobile species, but more site specific approaches are needed to offset the damage caused by urban sprawl. As Haeg warns, “As natural predators are eliminated, the populations of pigeons, cockroaches, rats, ants and mice spiral out of control. In fact, this may be the only 'wildlife' remaining in most cities.”11 (fig. 3.1-3.3) Despite our alteration of the environment through built structures, the human decimation of wildlife can be extended beyond architecture to the associated habits of its occupants. Recent studies suggest that in the US, domestic cats are responsible for the deaths of 6.9 to 20.7 billion wild animals annually.12 It is thought that most of these deaths have resulted from feral cats, which are directly attributable to our habit of introducing the species into new environments. This suggests a potential issue in making other species more accessible in the urban environment, as it would only exacerbate the problem. Could it be argued that a greater public awareness of this destruction would encourage us to take prompt action? Or do these statistics suggest that we must deal with the destructive nature of our habits before positioning ourselves closer to other species through architecture? If these issues are considered within the design, I believe architecture can still offer the integration of other species without threat from our domestic predatory pets. For example, many dovecotes were designed specifically for the inhabitation of one species and the exclusion of other predatory species such as rats or lizards. The dovecotes of Isfahan were constructed with a band of smooth material running around the perimeter, specifically to prevent lizards from gaining access to the 11 Campkin, B. Interview with Fritz Haeg, 2009 “Bugs, Bats & Animal Estates: The Architectural Territories of Wild Beasts”, 36. 12 Milius, S. “Cats kill more than one billion birds each year”


Fig. 3.1 Rats feasting on rubbish in the city. Rats are an urban pest which no human can tolerate a coexistence with.


Fig. 3.2-3.3 The Holy Rats of Karni Mata, Rajasthan ... or are they an animal that deserves mutual respect, as their tolerance within this temple suggests


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 hoards of pigeon occupants. (fig. 3.4-3.5) If we understand which species (most notably our domestic pets) are a threat to others, we can design preventative measures to conserve species more at risk. This is where architecture could intervene with a conservation agenda. If we were to include within our designs safe habitats for endangered species (such as has already been seen with bat and house sparrow boxes) we may be able to counteract the damaging consequences of our beloved feline companions. In addition to these social predispositions, political factors also play a major role in the way we have detached ourselves from the environment. In a time when unbuilt inner city space is limited and financial gain is the key incentive for development, it would seem unreasonable to suggest that we should delegate a percentage of floor space for the benefit of non-human species, not to mention areas with variable internal climates rendering them uninhabitable for part of the year. In order to develop ways to address these issues it is useful to look to the performance of building examples that pre-date mechanical climate control.


Fig. 3.4 Pigeon House, Isfahan, Iran A band of smooth material around the centre of the structure prevents lizards from entering the building.

Fig. 3.5 Pigeon House, Isfahan, Iran Articulated niches provide habitable space for pigeons.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2

Part Two – Towards a Non-anthropocentric Architecture

VI : PRACTICAL MEANS FOR INTEGRATING NATURE AND ARCHITECTURE Michael Hensel has co-ordinated extensive research into historic examples of the extended threshold and articulated envelopes. In particular he has focused on examples within Turkey and Iran where no-energy solutions to the arid climate have historically been common practice.13 This has prompted an exploration into the potential of the envelope to act as an extended zone of transition between the interior and exterior environment, thereby expanding the diversity of climate conditions present within a building. In the context of non-anthropocentric architecture, extended thresholds and articulated envelopes could offer intriguing potentials for cross-species cohabitation that originate from spatial and material configurations for passive environmental control. However, with the inclination towards maximising usable floor space and the density of the built environment, the climatic variability of this kind of architecture could be viewed with an unsettled scepticism. With this is mind, it is all the more interesting to see historical examples which suggest that this scepticism is a more recent change in perspective. I was intrigued by an image of the Havelis of Jaisalmer Fortress in Rajasthan in which the envelope was heavily occupied by pigeons (fig. 4.1-4.2). Of particular interest was the variation in the articulation of the façade, providing different conditions of inhabitation for pigeons. Though it was clear this articulation and organisation was primarily environmental and partially decorative, these niches appear to have been included solely for the inhabitation of birds.

13 See; H. Ertas, Hensel, M. & Hensel, D. S. (Eds.), 'Turkey – at the threshold', Architectural Design, (London: Wiley, 2010)


Fig. 4.1 - 4.2 Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan, India. 1156 AD Havelis (constructed 1750-1850 AD) Pigeons nest within the articulated niches and protrusions of the envelope


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 This is evident from the sculptural pigeons nested amongst the ornamentation of the façade, which was a common feature in classical buildings (fig. 4.3). In fact sculptural representation of a variety of animal species are included within the façade, showing the curiosity and respect of the culture for animal species. The most notable of these is the cow which is considered a sacred being in the Hindu religion. In fact, the free roaming of cows in the streets and roadsides of India could be considered an appropriate example of mutual cohabitation (fig. 4.4). But for what purpose were pigeons made such a feature? It is probable that their inclusion was more a fascination with their aesthetic and symbolic meaning than a consideration for their wellbeing. This fascination is not limited to the Indian culture however, the pigeon has long dominated the image of European city squares and plazas. Gissen makes reference to Le Corbusier's appreciation of pigeons in architecture, who wrote that, “the pigeons of St. Mark's themselves add their own uniform module, providing a varied and effective note in the scheme”.14 Their presence animates the otherwise idleness of the architecture and resonates with the image of a human crowd. This suggests that the emphasis of animals in architecture could provide more than decoration or function, and actually influence the roles we associate with the elements of a building. As Ingraham writes, “animals, who exhibit life in highly concentrated and diverse forms have the power to completely alter our way of thinking about ourselves and the forms we make, live in and respond to.”15 Ingraham goes on to reference Sanford Kwinter who wrote that, “the shape of the animal is everything that the animal does.”16 In light of this, designing for animal species means more than accommodating for the physical dimensions of the animal. It extends to an understanding of its behaviour and relation to other species, which is where its influence on architecture could surpass mere provision or deterrence.

14 Corbusier, L. The City of Tomorrow and Its Planning, 69. in: Ingraham, C. Architecture, Animal, Human : The Asymmetrical Condition, 15. 15 Ingraham, C. Architecture, Animal, Human : The Asymmetrical Condition, 15. 16 Kwinter, S. “The Combustible Landscape”, Ibid., 15.


Fig. 4.3 Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan, India. 1156 AD Sculptural Pigeons are nested amongst the ornamentation of the facade.

Fig. 4.4 Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan, India. 1156 AD Cows roam free through the streets and roads of Jaisalmer.


Rajasthan, India



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5 m



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Fig. 3.5 Jaisalmer Haveli - Typical Cross Section The articulated envelope and projected sections respond to the issues posed by the climate resulting in gradient interior climate conditions and varying degrees of interiority. (plans reproduced by Sam Leach)


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 Architecture could become the medium within which the dynamic relations within ecosystems could play out and be expressed. Returning to the example of Jaisalmer, pigeons become an integral element of the architecture. Beyond decoration, their presence adds a layer to the façade which is constantly changing with roosting habits and other behaviour. Pigeons have also shown to be one of the most intelligent birds, capable of learning complex actions and responding in diverse ways to multiple stimuli. My point is not to praise the pigeon species, but to illustrate that the way we view animal species is limited by the way we position ourselves to them. If we purposely exclude the animal from architecture, we psychologically reduce it to “pest” and eliminate any sympathy for the animal. In essence, these buildings demonstrate a way of living that is more closely attuned to the environment beyond the pigeon occupied envelope. The envelope defines a transition from exterior to interior through gradual modulation, using methods that have attracted much attention from architects for their remarkable passive environmental control and response to their context. One such commendable piece of research that analysed the performance of these environmental control measures and their potential for contemporary architecture was undertaken by Assistant Professor of Architecture in New Delhi, Vinod Grupta.17 The most distinctive features of these buildings are the highly articulated and decorative façades which comprise: projected balconies and upper floors for solar shading; projecting solar fins; carved articulations in the material faces; and carved stone jali's for ventilation and solar control (similar to the Cobogó seen in contemporary Brazilian architecture).18 (fig. 4.5) The principal living spaces were allocated on the upper floors while the entrance level acted as a variable datum offering different degrees of interiority from the 17 Gupta, V. “Natural Cooling Systems of Jaisalmer”, 58-64. 18 Hensel, M. “Performance-oriented Architecture and the Spatial and Material Organisation Complex”, 16. For further reference see 'Cobogó House' by Marcio Kogan in São Paulo, Brazil (2011).


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 narrow street outside to the courtyard within the centre. This courtyard, while acting as a ventilation shaft for the surrounding rooms and verandahs, became an occupiable common space for socialising and often a store for animals, thus extending the consideration of the architecture outside the realm of human occupation. While this provision was for the security of animals domesticated for the purpose of assisting human work rather than cohabitation of wild animal species, it still demonstrates an approach in which our relationship with animals is acknowledged and integrated within the building. In relation to this example it should be noted that the Indian culture has a more respectful view of animal species and nature in which humans exist within and not above. Interestingly the Hindu goddess of love and sexual desire, Rati is often depicted accompanied with a pigeon. This suggests that the definition of pest is more a cultural perspective than a human incompatibility. This does not discount the fact that pests have undesirable characteristics, but calls for a re-evaluation of human and animal territories. At Jaisalmer, pigeons are seen as a component of the environment, and are therefore accommodated in a way that distances the negative characteristics of pigeons from the human. Thus, the architecture acts as a mediator between animal and human territories rather than a separating element.

VII : ANIMAL ARCHITECTURES: PIGEON HOUSES AND DOVECOTES The connection between pigeons and architecture hasn't been limited to symbolism and aesthetic. Historic examples of animal inclusion as a commodity are seen in the middle east (many have since deteriorated), most notably the dovecotes of Iran, Turkey and Egypt.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 One such example of this has been examined by Michael Hensel and Mehran Gharleghi in 'AD: Iran.'19 These towers were specifically designed to accommodate pigeons for the purpose of collecting and storing their dung in arid climates, so that it could later be used for fertiliser in agriculture and tanning of leather. Although the majority of these structures were not inhabited by humans and accessed only once a year, they operated as an architectural structure that integrated the use of pigeons within agricultural practices for the benefit of the human environment. This is an approach similar to permaculture, a form of design which examines interrelations between ecosystem elements in order to maximise efficiency and benefit to the system. What is particularly interesting about these structures in addition to their purpose is the variation in their configuration. The structures of Iran appear to have high thermal mass with pigeons nesting on the interior, while the dovecotes of Anatolia include examples burrowed into the ground, and some structures in ancient Egypt were tall and narrow, with “... nesting pots open either to the outside or to the inside of the structure...”. 20 (fig 5.1-5.2) There is also much variation in the location of these. Many were built adjacent to farm land for the convenient transportation of dung, and it is speculated that in Karanis, Egypt it was also common practice to integrate them within the upper storey of inhabited houses.21 The practice of keeping pigeons for food and fertiliser has not been limited to the middle-east, however, with many examples still existing throughout Europe and the UK, particularly in Scotland where modern examples can be seen in urban areas. These appear to be more interesting for the topic of cross-species cohabitation because some examples demonstrate integration within the articulation of the envelope of barns and dwellings (fig. 5.3).

19 Hensel, M. & Gharleghi, M.”Auxiliarity, Performance and Provision in Historical Persian Architectures”, 35. 20 Husselman, E. “The Dovecotes of Karanis” 21 Ibid.


Fig. 5.1-5.2 Pigeon Towers, Alexandria, Egypt Pigeon towers were built in ancient Egypt and many as additions to the tops of houses. The walls were smoothly plastered to prevent reptiles from climbing the walls and openings were small to exclude birds of prey.

Fig. 5.3 Dovecote integrated into gable wall Cotswolds, England


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 Unfortunately it is now evident that the use of dovecotes for the production of fertiliser has gone out of practice following the development and adoption of chemical fertilisers and tanning chemicals, but there might be other reasons why their widespread use would be unlikely in the near future. As historic buildings consultant John McCann asserts in reference to the redundancy of dovecotes in England, “It had long been known that dovecotes were uneconomic from a national point of view, in that they produced a luxury for the few at the cost of holding back more efficient farming by the many.”22 Although it is clear that the majority of the high capacity dovecotes are now redundant, their small scale use for the production of pigeon meat continues in Egypt and Scotland, which may point towards their reintroduction in other areas. Moreover, the study of these structures from an architectural perspective may tell us less about their agricultural potential, but could inform methods for accommodating other species or even encouraging the migration of pests and undesirable species to less visible or underused parts of a building. As Hensel further emphasizes the interest in these structures, “Given the rich variation in articulation and use of these types of buildings it would be very interesting to undertake a comparative analysis and to see what can be learned from these examples for present structures that can house other species for the benefit of the human environment.”23 The pigeon house examples represent a time when pigeons were a controlled commodity while Jaisalmer shows an appreciation for the uncontrolled presence of pigeons. But how might architecture address pigeons in a time when we associate them with infestation and disease? I believe we still have a fascination with the presence of pigeons in the city, as is evident from our shared activity in London's Trafalgar square and St Mark's in Venice (fig. 5.4-5.5). Their flocking behaviour and interaction with built structures is akin to our own crowd behaviour, forcing us to question our view of the city as a human dominated environment. 22 McCann, J. “The Truth About Dovecotes” 23 Hensel, M. & Gharleghi, M. “Auxiliarity, Performance and Provision in Historical Persian Architectures”, 35.


Fig. 5.4 Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square, London (Constructed 1840-1843) Pigeons dominate the image of the city

Fig. 5.5 Juan Luna “Las Damas Romanas (1882) The pigeons (or doves) in this painting represent divinity and suggest eroticism.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 This fascination extends to the studies of animal cognition which attempt to identify similarities between humans and animals. These are interesting because they are conducted through observation of behaviours, compared to human studies which mainly involve language. They offer potential new ways of understanding ourselves and alter our perceived separation or superiority to other animals. New York based studio Aranda/Lasch conducted an experiment in 2004/05 investigating a way of experiencing the city through the eyes of another city dweller, by attaching wireless video cameras to pigeons24 (fig. 5.6). Methods of documentation like this could liberate us from our gridded view of the city and move us towards an understanding of the city from a non-anthropocentric viewpoint. It is informative in understanding how other living beings react to the environment we shape, and could provide a way of mapping that more reflects the actual experience of the city. This is not the first time pigeons have been used as a documentation tool, however. In 1907 the German apothecary Julius Neubronner fitted a miniature camera to a homing pigeon, claiming that the technique could be used for aerial reconnaissance (fig 5.7). Despite these fascinations it is difficult to imagine a cultural shift in which we began to tolerate a more frequent interaction with pigeons. Gissen has discussed our tendency to separate ourselves from pests and pollution rather than address their causes, but it is interesting to imagine how architecture could become part of the solution. For example, Peregrine Falcons have already been introduced in urban areas in an attempt to reduce pigeon populations. If we take the approach of Haeg's Animal Estates project which accommodates for species that prey on pigeons, this could prove more effective than any pigeon deterrent technology. Consider the dynamic human-animal interactions that could occur if more desirable species were as prevalent in the city as pigeons are today.

24 See 'The Brooklyn Pigeon Project' by Aranda/Lasch, Brooklyn, New York, 2004-05: - accessed on 24.02.13


Fig. 5.6 Aranda/Lasch ‘The Brooklyn Pigeon Project’, New York. 2004/05 Video documentation of a pigeon’s experience of the city. Fig. 5.7 Julius Neubroner’s Miniature Pigeon Camera, 1907 Photographic images of the city taken from a miniature camera attached to a pigeon in flight.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 Essentially, these historical precedents show a confusion over our relation to other species, with our definition of animal remaining undefined. When we consider the diversity of different living species it seems absurd to reduce them to the collective term of animal, if not just for the purpose of differentiating them from our own species. Our changing relationship with the Pigeon throughout history, from commodity to symbolism, is evidence of our confusion over the difference between human life and animal life.

VIII : REDUNDANCY AND DESIGNING FOR NATURE These examples show that animals occupy and react to the built environment whether or not it is our intention. Consider the gradual return to nature of redundant buildings that become thriving habitats for a variety of pests and vegetation in the absence of human activity and prevention measures. This is an increasing concern given the cheaper and quicker building technologies, which generally result in a shorter life span and occupancy of buildings today. This concern is coupled with the current economic climate, producing a landscape of redundant buildings which can remain unoccupied by humans for an extensive time period before being demolished prior to their eventual replacement. Redundant buildings are commonly viewed as obsolete structures in which the land they occupy is their only commodity. I am more interested in the potential of these structures to provide an intermediary use from the point of their abandonment to their demolition or replacement. Due to the increasing standards of regulations relating to human comfort and the rising costs involved in achieving these, degraded structures may be more appropriate for non-anthropocentric uses. We have viewed examples of animals in architecture which provide a benefit to the human environment, but what about those we have little control over? The philosopher Paul Taylor makes the radical claim that all living things have a moral standing, claiming that, “The attitude of respect for nature requires that we accept that all living things


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 possess inherent worth.”25 If we are to consider this perspective then the lack of consideration for animals in architecture could be considered an animal rights issue. So how might architecture begin to include animals without an agenda for human benefit? An exemplary precedent for this (although only conceptual at present) could be the adaptation of the former military base of Oush Grab in Beit Sahour, Israel by Sandi Hilal, Alessandro Petti and Eyal Weizman. The fortress has a long history of military use up until its recent evacuation, and the future use of the site has been the focus of much political debate between Jewish settlers, the Israeli military and Palestinian organisations in the years since. Meanwhile the fortress buildings remain unoccupied and deteriorating, while lying at the point of convergence of migration routes between more than 500 million birds, which make the site a diverse wildlife hotspot (fig. 6.1). Their strategy was to encourage the inhabitation of these structures by the diverse range of animal species, accelerating their gradual “return to nature”, while also providing an appropriate and low-cost intermediary purpose until an agreement over the future use of the site could be reached. This strategy for adaptation comprised, “... subtraction/destruction, perforating the external walls in buildings … with a series of equally spaced holes. ... The environmentalists and zoologists of the Palestine Wildlife Society expect that these holes will be inhabited by some of the smaller birds during migration and local species the rest of the year.”26 (fig. 6.26.3) Through collaboration with experts the building could be adapted to accommodate specific species with a low cost intervention. Though there is a clear political agenda to this project, they claim that their purpose is to adapt the site, “on behalf of nature and the rights of the birds, on behalf of the ecology of the site, and protection of migratory birds’ right to nest during their seasonal journeying.”27 It is difficult to imagine many instances where a biocentric 25 Taylor, P. “Biocentric Egalitarianism” 26 Hilal, S. Petti, A. Weizman, E.”Return to Nature”, 235. 27 Ibid.


Fig. 6.1 Eyal Weizman ‘Return to Nature’, Oush Grab, Israel. Bird migration routes were mapped, identifying their convergence over the site.


Fig. 6.2-6.3 Eyal Weizman ‘Return to Nature’, Oush Grab, Israel. Redundant Military Base adapted for the inhabitation of migratory birds to allow the gradual degradation and return to nature.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 position like this could be feasible, as architecture continues to remain a commercial practice which operates for financial gain or human luxury. However, this project clearly shows that we have feasible options in the failures of our past architectural endeavours. The reclamation of built structures by nature could be an example of how architecture can become an antidote for itself.

IX : DESIGN METHODS FOR COMPLEX SYSTEMS We have looked at ways in which a small selection of species have been the focus of design, but how can we begin to understand the influence of our actions within the super-complex systems our designs are located. These systems range from the local scale to the global, including the visible and the invisible. For example, in addition to concept, form and function, designers should now be considering such things as economic factors, sustainability, ecology, ethical issues, cultural aspects and client-specific frameworks. However, when considering these factors the breadth of this information can become so vast it is impossible to produce a design solution that considers all possible factors. Furthermore, this can lead to an over-complication of the design process, distracting the focus from the most important aspects of the design. Therefore, a level of control is required that allows the designer to consider the super-complex content of information while prioritising the most relevant aspects of the design. Fortunately this kind of practice already exists. Birger Sevaldson and SystemsOriented Design have been developing the technique of 'GIGA-Mapping', which facilitates the translation of complexity in systems-theory into visual data. This mapping can be used “as tools for analyses, process tools and communication.”28 The purpose of these visualisations is not to over-simplify complex data, but rather to make this data more comprehensible and navigatable thereby serving as a generative tool for the design process. It is different to conventional diagramming in that it is multi-layered and establishes relationships with apparently disassociated categories 28 Sevaldson, B. “GIGA-Mapping: Visualisation for Complexity and Systems Thinking in Design” p.4


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 of information, and defines a boundary to the seemingly boundless levels of information. Its primary purpose is to serve its designer, while also serving as a communication tool to others in its description of a range of things from processes of learning and research to relations between existing systems (fig. 7.1). The range of potential uses and techniques is elaborated in depth by Sevaldson in his article 'GIGA-Mapping', but for the purposes of my research I will focus specifically on its potential for non-anthropocentric architecture. Sevaldson describes GIGA-maps as, “rich multi-layered design artefacts that integrate systems thinking with designing as a way of developing and internalizing an understanding of a complex field�.29 Because the design of non-anthropocentric architectures involves the integration of elements outside the realm of human requirements, the process of GIGA-mapping could expose previously unconsidered interrelations between other species and humans. Incorporating non-human species into the design requires a broader understanding of the systems within which it operates than simply providing ancillary accommodation for bats and pigeons. This simplified response to non-anthropocentric thinking would only further accessorize architecture in a similar way to supplementary renewable technologies which supposedly respond to issues of sustainability. The purpose of non-anthropocentric thinking should not only be the consideration of the needs of other species and the wider ecological network, but also how other species can potentially benefit humans and therefore become integral to the design project. This is not to say that nonanthropocentric architecture should wholly benefit humans, but rather through the process of GIGA-mapping we may be able to optimise the integration of non-human species.

29 Ibid., p. 18



Fig. 7.1 Lea Brochard, Nicholetta Aveni, 2011 GIGA-mapping helped identify relationships between human senses and navigation of space which informed a proposal for a more accessible and communicative office building.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 The interrelatedness of different species is also too complex for an ancillary approach to be taken. Cohabitation between certain species could be disastrous, unaccountably between those which pose a fatal threat to endangered species. However, through the process of GIGA-mapping we may reveal ways in which these species can be organised without detrimental effect.

X : APPLICATION OF APPROACHES WITHIN MY DESIGN THESIS After identifying examples and techniques for non-anthropocentric design methods I began considering how I could apply similar approaches to my design thesis. The site is located at King's Cross St Pancras: a highly infrastructural and post-industrial brownfield area that has been the focus of major redevelopment during the past two decades. (fig. 8.1) The brief is for an industrial revival comprising textile manufacture using native raw materials, fashion garment production and distribution through market place. While biodiversity on the site would appear scarce, Camley Street Natural Park and the many redundant buildings and 'wildsites' have ensured that several bird and insect species remain in the area, including some red list and nationally notable species. (fig. 8.2) Through the ongoing process of GIGA-mapping it has been possible to map these species and the location of their habitat alongside other aspects of the project such as the proposed industrial processes and other uses of the site. (fig. 8.3) This allows the consideration of these species throughout the design process, including potential areas where these can be integrated or excluded from the program. Through strategic zoning it may be possible within my design to accommodate some of these species within parts of the program which are not frequently used, or where noise levels are not excessive.


Fig. 8.1 Aerial View of Kings Cross St. Pancras, London The site in enclosed by heavy rail and road infrastructure


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Fig. 8.2 Sam Leach ‘Design Thesis Project’, 2013 Identified biodiversity within the King’s Cross area Ai 323-AIM 19, MArch 2, University of Brighton Studio Tutors: Jeffrey Turko & Nathaniel Kolbe


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 These considerations are fairly simplistic, but their identification initiates their inclusion early within the design. One such influence has been the provision in my program of 'retting' pools for the soaking of raw flax. (fig 8.4) These open-air pools will harvest water from the adjacent canal and recycled surface water, and provide a habitat for native wildlife. This will be located at the edge of the site bordering the natural park, allowing the vegetation to extend and define a loose boundary to the pools providing a buffer from road traffic noise. Through this strategy I intend to create a space which appears both industrial and natural: a shared human and animal space. This approach does not attempt to create a mythical form of nature, nor does it allow nature to run rampant. Rather it influences and harvests it, forcing us to question our definition of the natural world. Following this, it would be interesting to explore other potential collaborations between the nature of the site and the requirements of the program.


Fig. 8.4 Flax ‘retting’ process The process of soaking flax in pools of flowing water traditionally produces the finest quality flax fibre.


Fig. 8.3 Sam Leach ‘Design Thesis Project’, 2013 Current iteration of GIGA-Map Ai 323-AIM 19, MArch 2, University of Brighton Studio Tutors: Jeffrey Turko & Nathaniel Kolbe



'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 CONCLUSION Non-anthropocentric thinking is integral to the issue of sustainability. However, it is submerged in social and political inclinations which steer architectural design towards the exclusion of weather conditions, non-domesticated species and unacquainted strangers, which manifest themselves in the sealed boundaries of our buildings. Through this approach we have fabricated the illusion that our buildings are impervious and safe from unwanted nature, though despite our best technical and material efforts these continue to inhabit our built structures. The crux of the matter is our failure to accept that we cannot control nature, we can only influence it. It could be concluded that our indeterminacy in our relation to animals limits their inclusion to mere accommodation, remaining subservient to the human world. Consequently the responsibility of non-anthropocentric architecture could be to re-examine the interface between human/animal territories in a way that enriches our understanding of the city as a complex system within which human and animal life is inseparable. Furthermore, the historical precedents of cohabitation, such as the Havelis of Jaisalmer indicate that our current dismissal of certain species may only be temporary. This may be especially true as the contemporary examples indicate and the issues of our impact on the natural world become unavoidable. As the Oush Grab project demonstrates, there are instances where a nonanthropocentric use can not only be more appropriate, but actually be of more benefit to the human environment. It also suggests there is no standard by which we can design non-anthropocentric architecture, and indeed each site presents a different eco-system, constraints and brief requirements which have to be considered. Its gradual 'return to nature' is a poignant reminder of the impermanence and instability of our environment, and the absurdity of conceiving of architecture as a static entity.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 The task is to shift perspectives from nature as something which has to be accommodated, to something within which we are embedded and can be influenced into producing dynamic and changeable environments. It is unlikely that many clients will consider these approaches until the advantages can be demonstrated. Even with feasible designs, there tends to be a conservatism over projects which have no referential basis. Historical case studies indicate our ability to coexist, but more recent precedents are needed to highlight the relevance to our present time. For now the potential may lie in small scale, low-cost interventions such as Haeg's Animal Estates, but through this an awareness can be developed which asks us to question how other animals share our built environment. In my opinion, the true merits of architecture are revealed when it is forced to address problems and ask questions. Indeed, our current role may not be to accommodate for other species without question, but to explore the questions that are presented by their inclusion.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2

Bibliography Books: Banham, R. “Environmental Management”, The Architecture of the Well-tempered Environment, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1969), 18.

Corbusier, L. The City of Tomorrow and Its Planning, (New York: Dover, 1987), 69

Gissen, D. Subnature: Architecture's Other Environments (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009), 180-191.

M, Hensel. C, Hight. & A, Menges. Space Reader: Heterogeneous Space in Architecture, (Chichester UK, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2009)

Ingraham, C. Architecture, Animal, Human : The Asymmetrical Condition, (Oxford UK: Routledge, 2006), 15. Kwinter, S. “The Combustible Landscape”, Graduate Research Lecture Series, School of Architecture, Pratt Institute, 7 April, 2005, in: Ingraham, C. Architecture, Animal, Human : The Asymmetrical Condition, (Oxford UK: Routledge, 2006), 15. Leatherbarrow, D. The Roots of Architectural Invention: Site, Enclosure, Materials (Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 161. Martel, Y. Life of Pi, (Edingburgh: Canongate, 2001), 181. Hilal, S. Petti, A. Weizman, E.”Return to Nature”, in Ecological Urbanism, ed. Mostafavi, M. (Harvard University Graduate School of Design: Lars Muller Publishers, 2010), 235. Zeigler, D. Preface to Understanding Biodiversity, (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2007), x-xi.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 Articles:

Barkham, P. “David Attenborough calls for help as butterflies face worst year ever”, The Guardian Newspaper, 12 July, 2012, accessed on 28.01.2013, url: -

Bekleyen, A. “The Dovecotes of Diyarbakir”, 'The Journal of Architecture, Vol 14(4), (Oxford UK: Routledge, 2009), 451-64. Campkin, B. “Bugs, Bats & Animal Estates: The Architectural Territories of Wild Beasts”, 'Territory: Architecture Beyond Environment', AD Architectural Design, Vol 80: No. 3, (London, Wiley, 2010) 34-39.

Gupta, V. “Natural Cooling Systems of Jaisalmer”, Architectural Science Review, Vol 28: No. 3, (Sydney: University of Sydney, 1985) 58-64. Hensel, M. “Performance-Oriented Architecture and the Spatial and Material Organisation Complex”, FORMakademisk, Vol. 4: No. 1. (2011) 3-23, accessed 20.11.2012, url: Hensel, M. “Towards a Biological Paradigm for Architectural Design and the Built Environment”, FORMakademisk, Vol. 3: No. 1. (2010) 36-56, accessed 20.11.2012, url: Hensel, M. & Sunguroglu Hensel, D. “Extended thresholds II: the articulated enveleope”, H. Ertas, Hensel, M. & Hensel, D. S. (Eds.), 'Turkey – at the threshold', Architectural Design, Vol 80, Issue 1, (London: Wiley, 2010) 20-25. Hensel, M. & Sunguroglu Hensel, D. “Extended Thresholds III: Auxiliary Architectures”, H. Ertas, Hensel, M. & Hensel, D. S. (Eds.) 'Turkey – at the threshold', Architectural Design, Vol 80, Issue 1, (London: Wiley, 2010) 76-83. Hensel, M. & Gharleghi, M. “Auxiliarity, Performance and Provision in Historical Persian Architectures”, Hensel, M. & Gharleghi, M. (Eds.), 'IRAN: Past, Present and Future', Architectural Design, Profile 217. (London: Wiley, 2012) 26-37.


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 Husselman, E. “The Dovecotes of Karanis”. American Philological Association, Vol 84 (University of Michigan, 1953) 81-91.

McCann, J. “The Truth About Dovecotes”, accessed on 29.12.2012, url:; Further elaborated in the book - McCann, J. The Dovecotes of Suffolk, (Suffolk UK: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History) Milius, S. “Cats kill more than one billion birds each year”, New Scientist, 29 January, 2013, accessed on 29.01.2013, url: lion_birds_each_year Taylor, P. “Biocentric Egalitarianism”, accessed on 24.02.2013, url:, Vaughan, A. “Hedgehog poulation in dramatic decline”, The Guardian Newspaper, 29 January, 2013, accessed on 29.01.2013, url: Sevaldson, B. “GIGA-Mapping: Visualisation for Complexity and Systems Thinking in Design”, Nordic Design Research Conferences Making Design Matter, (2009), accessed on 12.12.2012, url:,

Video: Hensel, M. 'Sustaining Sustainability – The Need for alternative Approaches to Architectural Design and Sustainability’. (Cornell University School of Architecture – 03.02.2012), url:, accessed on 11.12.2012. Hensel, M. 'Towards Non-anthropocentric Architectures’. (Cornell University School of Architecture – 04.02.2012), url:, accessed on 12.12.2012


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 Images: Cover Image - fig. 1.1 : Page 3 - fig. 1.2 : Page 3 - fig. 2.1 : Page 7 - fig. 2.2 : Page 7 - fig 2.3 : Page 9 - fig 2.4 : Page 9 - fig 3.1 : Page 12 - fig 3.2 : Page 13 - fig 3.3 : Page 13 - fig 3.4 : Page 15 - fig 3.5 : Page 15 - fig 4.1 : Page 17 - fig 4.2 : Page 17 - fig 4.3 : Page 19 - fig 4.4 : Page 19 - Lauren Girardin - fig 4.5 : Page 20-21 – - Plans Reproduced by Sam Leach fig 5.1 : Page 25 - fig 5.2 : Page 25 fig 5.3 : Page 25 - /Dovecotes_lg.jpg fig 5.4 : Page 27 - format=fpp fig 5.5 : Page 27 - Las Damas Romanas 1882 fig 5.6 : Page 29 - fig 5.7 : Page 29 fig 6.1 : Page 32 - fig 6.2 : Page 33 - fig 6.3 : Page 33 - fig 7.1 : Page 36-37 - %202011/UDI/GIGA-map.jpg fig 8.1 : Page 39 – fig 8.2 : Page 41 - Produced by Sam Leach fig 8.3 : Page 44-45 – Produced by Sam Leach fig 8.4 : Page 43 -


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 DoCZM75XT7A/T2f2d4n9YAI/AAAAAAAABDE/HMmGtCajgss/s1600/17+water+ret+early.JPG


auxiliary architecture: a material addition which is ancillary to the permanent architectural structure, and is therefore not a constituent of the original design, but may offer a spatial or environmental enhancement or modification without greatly obscuring the aesthetic character of the permanent structure. - (Hensel, M. “Extended Thresholds III”, 'AD: Turkey at the Threshold', pp. 77-83) environmental modulation: the management of environmental conditions between the exterior and interior which produces gradient levels of environment, as opposed to recent practices of utilising technological means to produce a homogeneous interior climate contrasted with the uncontrolled exterior climate. - (Hensel, M. “Extended Thresholds II”, 'AD: Turkey at the Threshold', pp. 21-25)(Banham, R. “Environmental Management”, 'Space Reader', pp. 149-171 extended threshold: an architectural boundary which provides a degree of transparency and does not merely delimit the separation between interior and exterior (or one space from another), but rather extends the transitional boundary between the exterior and interior (or between two spaces). - (Hensel, M. “Extended Thresholds I”, 'AD: Turkey at the Threshold', pp.14-19) material performance: the functionality of a material based on it's micro-structure to material properties ('primary' and 'variable': as elaborated thus by David Leatherbarrow in “The Nature of Materials”, 'The Roots of Architectural Invention', pp. 151-155): –

Primary/Constant: “Primary properties endure or persist through all modifications: density, hardness...”(Leatherbarrow, D. “The Nature of Materials”, p. 153)

Secondary/Variable: “Variable are secondary properties. Cutting and polishing, for example, modify surfaces.”(Leatherbarrow, D. “The Nature of Materials”, p. 153)

material and spatial organisation complex: In the context of architecture, the performance of a material and the spatial dimension are interdependent, as is its specific environmental context. It is therefore appropriate to consider material and spatial organisation as a complex in which these domains have to be analysed in co-operation. - (Hensel, M. “Performance-Oriented Architecture and the Spatial and Material Organisation Complex”) multi-functional hybrid envelopes: a material envelope which performs a multitude of functions such as ventilation, visual access, thermal insulation, sound insulation and passage of light. In


'Non-Anthropocentric Architecture and the Extended Threshold' / Samuel Leach / Design Research Study / AIM 22 / MArch 2 addition to environmental performance the continuing objective of this research is to extend the functionality of the envelope to a social and cultural, as well as non-anthropocentric capacity. (Hensel, M. “Performance-Oriented Architecture and the Spatial and Material Organisation Complex”) non-anthropocentric: in the context of architecture, a design approach which is not centrally focused on the needs of humans, but incorporates the requirements of the constituents of the ecosystem within which it is located. The purpose of the architecture may however benefit the human environment: for example, the pigeon towers of Isfahan, Iran, which provided a secure habitat for Pigeons in order to utilise their dung for fertiliser and tanning. - (Hensel, M. Hensel, D. S. Gharleghi, M. “Auxiliarity, Performance and Provision in Historical Persian Architectures”, 'AD: Iran Past, Present and Future', pp. 26-37) systems-theory: in the context of architecture, a design approach which acknowledges the complexity and interdependence of components within the systems of which everything operates: for example, the interdependent elements such as water, air, organisms etc. which constitute an ecosystem. The implementation of systems thinking within design is currently being developed by prof. Birger Sevaldson within Systems-Oriented Design in the context of OCEAN design research network. - (Sevaldson, B. “GIGA-Mapping: Visualisation for Complexity and Systems Thinking in Design”


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