We are the most connected species to roam this planet, possessing the technological ability to instantaneously experience the world beyond our physical limits. We are also the most disconnected, alienated from each other and our habitat. Our ancestors were said to live in a sublime utopia, in harmony with nature. For the last 5,000 years, this utopia has given way to an increasingly hostile coexistence. Man has sought to dominate, manipulate, and exploit the natural world, departing ever further away from an earthly paradise. (Co)Exist addresses man's increasingly adversarial and unsustainable relationship with the natural world.
As the number of humans on the planet exceeds 7.5 billion, technological advancements facilitate the efficient exploitation of nature at an industrial scale — all in the name of progress. If we do not create countermeasures to combat the cartel of destructive forces harming our planet, the future will be less habitable for our species. (Co)Exist will recalibrate the notion of destruction through construction, and craft experiences that connect us more viscerally with the world around us.
The studio will disrupt established and contemporary structures, hierarchies, and systems. Our site, on the barrier island of Virginia Key, is ripe for reinvention. A protected ecological treasure, the once romantic island is home to the largest wetland mangrove in the state, but also 125 acres of landfill and the antiquated Central District Treatment Plant, built in 1953. Nothing is safe. We will mine crumbling edifices for future potential, invert creaking bureaucracies and liberate a potential new society, conceived with the land not on it, striking new synergies with emerging ecosystems and new economies for the next age of human existence.
The studio's methodological approach will oscillate between techniques of earthly, experiential model-making — enhanced and informed by four-dimensional drawing — and animated simulation. The studio includes a field trip* (September 21–29) to Miami, Virginia Key, and selected architecture and (natural) phenomena of the region.
*$500 field trip contribution per student is required.