ISSUE 56 — AUTUMN 2021
This issue of Antennae, titled ‘Spaces and Species’, aims to, in the words of co-editors Linda Tegg, Mauro Baracco, and Louise Wright, “ask architecture to reframe what it does best – to make careful relationships between things – this time with other species. The observation this requires – reflected in this issue – is aligned to practices of listening over processes of objectification as a precursor to acting with. We seek more diplomatic ways to conduct ourselves in the shared environment to find the gestures and patterns of living that enable us to follow those we live amongst”.
Architecture has for thousands of years mediated our relationship with the nonhuman and the land. Delimiting, separating, excluding, and isolating—at times architectural structures have implicitly reinforced the nature/culture dichotomy that has not only defined our daily activities but that has shaped our anthropocentric conception. This issue of Antennae features the contributions of artists, architects, and scholars whose practices help us to re-envision our relationship with the spaces and species that make up the interconnected world we live in.
DR. GIOVANNI ALOI
EDITOR IN CHIEF
in this issue
Monica Gagliano Alison Haynes Danièle Hromek Kevin Lair
Christoph Solstreif-Pirker Masamichi Tamura
Yoshiharu Tsukamoto Louise Wright
text: Louise Wright
In 1987, Vessel and Wong showed
us that vacant lots aren’t really vacant: a surprising number of plants and animals live in the left- over spaces in our cities. This work could be considered the beginning of an understanding of how novel ecosystems are facilitated by the urban environment.
images and text: David Fox
As the city of Melbourne, Australia,
attempted to suppress Covid-19 with a lockdown, David Fox found an abundance of life close to home. With forensic clarity, Fox’s photographs present moss thriving within the mineral fabric of the city.
Up here from high is Nura [Country]
text: Danièle Hromek
Budawang woman of the Yuin nation, Danièle Hromek, lives in a birdhouse where she can see the forms and shapes of our Mother Earth, otherwise unavailable on the ground in urban spaces where the flows and shapes of Country have been smoothed off by colonial processes.
A yarn between two spatial practitioners
conversation between Danièle Hromek (Budawang/Yuin) and Louise Wright
As the city of Melbourne, Australia,
A yarn between Louise Wright and Danièle Hromek, held remotely and temporally over several months during the winter and spring of 2020 – dhagarwara (winter) and gambambara (spring) – of the continent now known as Australia.
Architecture sharing space
text: Louise Wright
Architecture’s physicality is at once
its problem and possibility in its relationship with its site and the species supported there. Its physical size, shape, footprint and material allow it to make, share, or release ground.
Under the green slate: otherness in landscape architecture
text: Nina Bassoli
This essay traces a path through the inalienable relationship between urban environments, natural ecologies and different forms of “otherness”.
"Despite the most daring and sophisticated means of containment that architects and engineers put in place – the landscape is alive."
Nina Bassoli, p 58
"Most efforts to understand how moss interacts with building surfaces have come from the desire to remove it."
Alison Haynes, p 175
"A full century before the coining of the word ‘Anthropocene’, humans were recognised as geographical agents of the first order."
Irénée Scalbert, p 124
"There is a gap between the reality of working directly with plants, unknowable as they are, and that of working with drawings and other documentation required for the delivery of public space."
Dermot Foley, p 76
Observing - intervening
text: Dermot Foley
Observing as-found conditions of
ground and substrate can fine-tune our appreciation of secondary- raw-materials, as they interact with ecological processes. Foley’s work is a response to the EU Waste Framework Directive (2008) and the EU Construction and Demolition Waste Protocol and Guidelines (2018).
One true time
text: Louise Wright
The ‘weed’ has in some settings
adapted more quickly than
it might have to a new kind
of ecological niche – the urbanized environment of the Anthropocene – to complicate notions of place and endemism.
interviewee Monica Gagliano
interviewer Mauro Baracco + Louise Wright
Monica Gagliano is a pioneer in the research of plant cognition. Some of this work has focused on the ecological processes by which organisms are able to gather information on the variable conditions of their surrounding environment in order to thrive.
Architecture as proto-ethic entanglement
text and images: Christoph Solstreif-Pirker
This artist portfolio builds on a performative investigation of Gruinard Island, Scotland, taken place in 2018. Having served as a testing site for biological agents during World War II, the island’s soil and atmosphere remain a lethal environment for humans and non-humans.
Architectures of becoming-animal
text: Ron Broglio
From childhood games to ancient cave paintings, animal representations across time and space offer us an affective crack in rational consciousness by which to slip into a larger-than-human earth and share affinity with a range of animal life.
Westbrook Artists' Site
text: Kevin Lair
The mission of Westbrook Artists’ Site (WAS) is to seek the creative potential in the rural post-industrial condition. It is an exploration of the tension between control and that which escapes or eludes our control, and it suggests how we may reconnect to the rural environment.
The city in nature
text: Irénée Scalbert
To exist, the city must, according to
Fernand Braudel, dominate an empire, however tiny. The periods of greatest economic expansion were invariably accompanied by an explosion of cities. But can cities legitimately claim to be the destiny of the world? Must they always be obsessed with their own past, with their own imperium?
Anthropocene, architecture, and modernity
text: Giacomo Pala
In the last decades, the concept of the Anthropocene has become remarkably common in many fields, although sometimes, it is reduced to a catchword. This essay investigates how such concept may require the development of a specific historiography of architecture.
Flora of the Colosseum of Rome
text: Richard Deakin
introduction Louise Wright and Linda Tegg
In the 1850s Richard Deakin examined Rome’s Colosseum
and found 420 species of plants spontaneously growing among it’s ruins and documented each species.
Small plants in the concrete jungle
text and images: Alison Haynes
From the point of view of moss, the urban environment provides niches, like pavement crevices, that offer just enough shelter and resources to survive. These small plants, often overlooked, were amongst the first to colonise land around 400 million years ago.
Spaces for plants in void metabolism
text and images: Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Masamichi Tamura, and Fumiya Nonaka
Tokyo as a gathering of residential houses with small gardens can be characterized with its fragmentary green spaces that escape the mesh of statistics. Plants appear in voids that keep transforming with ever metabolizing masses.
Species in correlation: Superstudio and ground/planet continuity
text and images: Mauro Baracco
Reflecting on current environmental crises as related extensions of the production-consumption system, this essay refers to architectural works from the Sixties and Seventies, tracing analogies between their critique of the status quo and current positions that call for enhanced integration between human and non-human ecologies.
"The Roman Empire began its fall not only because of the so-called barbarian invasions, but also because of environmental problems for which the Romans were ultimately co-responsible."
Giacomo Pala, p 150
"For a landscape, often consumed by the monotony of industrial agriculture, fire is charismatic."
Kevin Lair, p 117
"And dandelions are particularly good, because they are one of those flowers that you find growing through concrete."
Monica Gagliano, p 99
"Space cannot be traced back to the creative authorship of the architect, but rather to the marginal, peripheral and molecular multiplicities that are already there."
C. Solstreif-Pirker, p 108