Programme Name: Architecture (MArch)
Course Name: Studies in Contemporary Architectural Theory
Course Organiser: Dr Ella Chmielewska
Tutor: Prof Mark Dorrian
This essay looks into the contemporary rewilding movement using a Storedijkian method of thought and analysis. In particular, it draws on the way that Sloterdijk describes Victorian glasshouses as ‘granting plants hospitality’.
Running this Victorian practice alongside contemporary rewilding reveals interesting parallels through the thought-image of ‘hospitality’. This idea of showing hospitality to the wild can be understood in an historic context running back to practices such as leaving fields fallow but also conceptually to the gargoyles and marginalia of Medieval times.
The word ‘hospitality’ also becomes a helpful tool for understanding the role of the human in rewilding, who can otherwise occupy an ambiguous or marginalised position. Seeing rewilding as granting hospitality to the wild reveals it as a highly relational activity as much about the wild guest as the person offering the ‘hospitality’.
However, it also reveals the limitations of a human-centred lens when applied to looking at the wild. The notion of ‘hospitality’ exposes a false power dynamic in the host-guest relationship. We think we are the host, where in fact we are the guest. The essay closes by considering how rewilding can more properly understand the wildhuman relationship as one of symbiosis and how this transformed perspective can apply in the practice of architecture.
The Terrestrial Paradise, engraving by Athanasius Kircher, 1675.
The Architectural Review
from The Luttrell Psalter, ca. 1325-40
Biodiverse agricultural landscape, Palayan Rice Terraces, Ifugao, Phillippines.
Dandelion, illustration from The Lost Words.
Jackie Morris, Robert Macfarlane