Animalesque City: Radical Visions about Human-Animal Cohabitation

As part of the Visiting School Animalesque City competition, this Roundtable explores the meaning and potential of wildlife in the design and construction of our urban environments.

Humans are mammals, but our anthropocentric perspective has unbalanced our position within the animal kingdom and within the natural world as a whole. Through the Animalesque City competition – A call for short films – we aim to propose new ways of thinking and engineering that can help us establish interspecies collaboration based on mutuality, instead of domination and one-sided exploitation. We believe that this will lead to more equal cities and resilient socio-ecological systems.

Can we build scenarios for symbiosis with the species that inhabit the world and live alongside us? What can we learn from animals by looking at how they use their senses, the ways in which they communicate and work together, the extent to which they follow their instincts, their adjustments and adaptations? And what do we have to offer from our side?

Over the past three years, the Animalesque Visiting School Berlin has been dedicated to knowledge production about the potential of architectural design as a stimulus for biodiversity. The Berlin based Animalesque team exists of architects and designers Jorge Godoy Roman, Ana Zatezalo Schenk, Sjoerd Krijnen and Florentin Steininger. They work collaboratively with designers, ecologists, biologists, philosophers, artists and academics to stimulate transdisciplinary research that responds to the growing complexities of an urban/natural world.

Prominent researchers and practitioners engaging biodiversity concerns such as Erika Mayr, Emanuele Coccia, Charles Coleman, Jan Wurm, Ricardo de Ostos and Raoul Bunschoten have generously taken part in various projects run by Animalesque.

The Animalesque methodology is instrumentalized through workshops, seminars and the design and construction of physical prototypes. Exhibiting and developing work within the context of art festivals and exhibition spaces allows for curating and presenting the discourse to a broad audience in an engaging way. The current online competition is a reflective response to the current pandemic, which exposes our vulnerability and forces us to rethink our actions and position in the natural world.


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