Raising Totems

The thesis looks at ways that architecture might play a role in restoration ecology. It learns from Ivette Perfecto’s paper titled, "The Agroecological Matrix as an Alternative to the Land-sparing/Agriculture Intensification Model", which explains the potential benefits of the interspersion of smaller and more precise farming practices, amongst patches of natural habitats, on the health of metapopulations in the ecosystem. An agroecological matrix model’s potential impact on biodiversity, and the potential for the emergence and return of newer and older species, is of particular interest. The work is a speculative provocation on alternative architectures within an agroecological matrix. In addition, there is a desire to consider emergent domesticities and agrarian practices, and the intersection of the two, something like apple picking and cider donut season here in Michigan.

The thesis begins by thinking through aestheticized erosions of the impermeable surface, roads, packed farmlands, front lawns, etc., and by producing abstract expressionist material assemblages that are translated into digital images. It proposes a speculative scenario in which brushstroke-esque erosions of the suburban landscape make room for the emergence of new natural habitats. The removal of the human ground makes explicit what lies beneath our feet, and what we leave behind. At first, the landscape of raw earth left behind, resembles the White Desert in Egypt. It is a valley of mutant rock formations. Stewards of these new habitats will adapt these post-rock geologies into spatial realms that maintain a symbiotic link between humanity and nature. In preparation for emergent life, architecture and its materials must become a part of the natural exchange of materials in the ecosystem. Form and tectonics gain agency in shaping the spatial narrative of nature, and architecture becomes part of the original ground and the landscape.
Faculty Advisor:
Perry Kulper