Design Brief & Exercises

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.

30 November 2011

Exercise 1:

Exercise 1 is all about getting to know your bat.  We are going to choose a bat species or two different ones and identify a bat property that we wish to explore further in drawing or model making.  These properties can lead to an interesting visual mapping which we will use to translate into a spatial diagram for the bat building.  In exploring this bat property keep in mind that we will use this to develop our spatial component.  When you are thinking about the bat property begin to consider the program of the space for the humans.  Thinking of inversion the program could be a trapeze artist training centre, looking at flight it might translate to a playground with different types of swings, fur may translate to a furry interior detail, and many more ideas to come.

List of Potential Bat Properties you may explore

–       Echolocation

–       Fur

–       Wings/ Fingers as double skin

–       Tail membrane

–       Inversion (Horseshoe bat)

–       Hibernation

–       Maternity Roost

–       Attachment

You may also present and discover your own bat attribute.

We will develop these attributes always thinking spatially about them and present a number of spatial sketches at the end of the day.

1 December 2011

Exercise 2

Today we are translating your bat properties into something spatial.  We will be trying to invert the proportion of space balanced between humans and bats and therefore will dedicate 90% to bats and 10% to humans.  This should make for an interesting spatial balance.

You must quickly decide on the following things:

  1. What your program is for the Human component, remember it is only 10% of our building so it can be small and simple like a shelter to look over the garden.
  2. Decide on the two bat species you will design for.  Different species require different types of structures and today we will learn about generally what bats need.  Remember this will be 90% of your building.
  3. Decide on your site location.  Will it be the urban site located just down the road from ARUP, or will it be the rural site in the apple orchard of Orchard Barn.

Once you have made these decisions, try and see how your research from the previous day can influence the design of the structure.  Start by sketching, making sketch models, drawing, and using collage to translate your property into a spatial understanding.

By the end of the day you will have to decide between making a final drawing or a final model.  We will create the sketch for this final drawing and model and you will work on it for the rest of the time. The key is to explore, have fun and make beautiful mistakes.

2 December 2011

Exercise 3

Today is all about focusing on making either a model or drawing.  For the model makers this model is to be multi-scalar.  It should depict your building at 1:50 or even 1:20, but also at 1:1 act as a bat box.  Think of how your model can be both.  If you choose to do a model it will be really important to transform it through photography.  You will want a series of photos that transcend the model and show its unique attributes.

If you choose to make a final drawing, play with perspective and occupation of elements that begin to describe the qualities of the space.  Add your clients, bats and people to the drawing, add shadow and shading, context such as trees and landscaping.  Collage these things into the drawing and maybe even pop out an element to highlight something.  A section of the roof could extend beyond the flat edge of the paper and make it that much more spatial.

You may not finish today, but you have the weekend for finishing touches. I look forward to seeing you have fun.

Traditional Bat Boxes

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