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Cohabitable Architecture: bats and people (a workshop)

 Design Brief

The goal of urban ecologies is to integrate animal species within the urban environment.  With urban development animals have been displaced from their natural habitats and are forced to find alternative homes. Bat species have come to rely on existing built structures in which to roost, and will be the focus of this workshop which addresses the following questions:

* How can we design structures that support the bat population while maintaining human occupation?

*How can we learn from the properties and behaviours of bats to design structures for humans?

*What happens when the proportion of dedicated space for humans is inverted with the proportion for bats? Will different structures and spaces be formed?

*How can we share space with animal species?

*What playful and fun spaces and structures can arise from designing  cohabitable architecture?

This workshop proposes the design of cohabitable space that is to be shared between bats and humans. Through the acts of drawing and model making we will attempt to explore means of cohabitation between species.

The workshop will be broken into two parts.  First we will explore a property of the bats and then translate that property into a spatial proposal. Aspects such as flight, sight, suspension, inversion and clustering will be explored regarding the human side of the cohabitation.

You will have a choice between an urban site and a rural site.  The Urban site is the park just north of the ARUP building and the Rural site is Orchard Barn in Essex.  Both offer unique opportunities for bat habitation.  You will choose two bat species to design for, creating a unique cohabitate for both to dwell in. Part of this space will also be for human occupation.  In order to subvert the idea that human get the majority of the dwelling space we will design structures where bats take up 90% of the space and humans the remaining 10%. Inverting the proportion of living space allows us to explore aspects of the bat world that will assist us in designing the human space. Based on the bat property you will choose a program for the humans that will provide them with an experience that is reflected in the bat.

Once all of these things have been explored and decided on you will work on the design of this structure.  The end product will take the form of a final drawing or a model.  The model is unique in that it should also act as a bat box that could potentially be a home for bats.  We will also explore aspects of occupation in the drawing, by creating hybrid drawings that exhibit both the architecture and the activities that take place within the structure.

This workshop will span three days plus one final day for a pin up of the work to be viewed by notable urban ecologists as well as bat specialists from the Bat Conservation Trust. Supporting the workshop will be a lecture presented by experts from the Bat Conservation Trust. The lecture will focus on mitigation for bat species in structures, and will inform our design process. Focusing on the creation of a multi scalar model that may also serve as a bat box or the design of a habitable drawing, this workshop proposes the playful exploration of cohabitable space.