The common insect Rhynchites Betulae constructs its nest by cutting and folding a leaf with geometric precision. Architects and scientists have studied this and similar phenomena for centuries, using animal constructions to model human-made structures and shape organicist discourse in architecture. This course begins by investigating the constructions made by animals for a variety of purposes: raising young; attracting mates; procuring food; sheltering from weather; trapping prey. After a series of case studies focused on the ingenious architecture of nests, webs, cocoons, dams, and other animal-made constructions, we move on to compare these constructions to the architecture that humans have devised for the husbanding, production, veneration, and presentation of animal life. The course finishes with a section on representation and classification of non-human life, and with a review of cross-species philosophy. Students will present a final project based on material from the class.
The course is taught by an architectural historian and an environmental art historian. The course will promote connections between History of Art, Taubman College, and the Program in the Environment. In it we will explore the diverse perspectives of our two fields, cross-pollinating both with readings in animal studies and environmental history.
Meets together with HISTART 497-003
Tuesdays 4:00-7:00pm 130 Tappan
Claire Zimmerman; Michaela Rife, Co-Instructor