SHIMMERING ARCHITECTUREthe construction of a biome
The hours spent hiking over England’s southern downlands and crawling through its overgrown holloways transformed me into who I am today. A world of sublime curiosity was out there for a young person; a mere stone’s throw from my front door. I became connected to the soft grass underfoot while trudging over the rolling downlands where the sea meets land as the sheer chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters plunges to the shore below.
As I got older, I spent more and more time inside due to the pressures of work, emails, school, and the comforts of modernity. It is an environment dominated by humans and defined by walls, corridors and roofs, connecting inside to more inside. The outside became a place I only briefly saw in my quick rushes between different buildings. We have become, or are becoming, Homo indoorus, the indoor human.1
It is in this thesis that I would like to think of this expanding environment as a biome, a vast territory of urban and village ecosystems that stretches around the world and is a habitat to multiple entities that flow through it.2
I venture into the origins of an anthropocentric prejudice within the indoor biome that has plagued design professions for years. A prejudice that set the foundation for a modern aesthetic of minimal, clean and white environments. By unwrapping a culture’s desire for purity gives us an indication into how the architecture and design we surround ourselves with is creating a shrink-wrapped boundary around the human, severing us from more than human entities that cohabit this space.3
1) Never home alone - Rob Dunn - Published Nov 2018
2) Evolution of the indoor biome - NESCent Working Group on the Evolutionary Biology of the Built Environment - Published April 2015
3) Encyclopedia of the World’s Biomes - Michael Goldstein, Dominick DellaSala - Published Jun 2020
Rob Dunn - Biologist / Ecologist who has written several books and science essays exploring the multi scaled life that surrounds us in our homes.
Julia Rijssenbeek - A PhD candidate in Ethics of Technology at the Philosophy Group of Wageningen University. She explores the ethical and ontological implications of cell factories.
Angelo Renna - an architect that has grown a particular interest in preserving and implementing natural elements in architecture.
Meredith Root-Bernstein - A PhD in Ecology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. The theme across Meredith’s work can be described as ethnobiology