CATEGORIES2020 Conference Papers Conference Papers Practice Based & Interdisciplinary Design & Research
“Insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals [on the planet] outweighing humanity by 17 times… They are essential for the functioning of all ecosytems… “so wrote journalist Damian Carrington in the Guardian newspaper in February of 2019. As the planet becomes increasingly urbanised the quantum and quality of habitable animal and particularly insect environment decreases. Buildings can have a role in mitigating this habitat loss by providing conditions supportive of insect life. This was the proposition put to first year MARCP students at the Unitec School of Architecture in the second semester of 2019. While the logic of making buildings supportive of other life forms seemed obvious to the staff, the proposition was greeted with considerable skepticism by the student body. The experience highlighted the issue of empathy for other forms of life as a critical factor in the pedagogy of architectural learning. This paper examines the initial phases of the project and the attempts by staff to engage the students. The complexities around the development of architectural projects that could accomodate insect life are discussed. The paper concludes by suggesting principles and strategies for further development of an empathetic architectural pedagogy.
Keywords: Design; studio; insects; empathy.