Spring 2016, M.Arch Thesis Studio, ARCH 204B – Rael
Western thought conceptualizes nature and culture as distinct domains of anthropological understanding. However, as inhabitants of the Anthropocene, we (human kind) have significant influence on our planet’s ecosystem, therefore, nature, today, is also culture. The manipulation of genetic material, can result in corporate logos appearing on the wings of genetically modified butterflies, our understanding of bone structure can influence the structural and formal design of a chair, and genetically modified goats, whose DNA is crossed with the DNA of spiders, causes their udders produce proteins for the production of a super silk called biosteel. Is this natural? Post-‐natural? This studio raised questions concerning the nature of building, and what is a natural building material in the Anthropocene. It required students to establish an architectural theory on material culture—or, as we might also say, material nature, that results in their thesis, through the production of drawings, models and words that is, ideally, unnatural.