Species Wall Pavilion
Clermont Historic Site //Clermont, NEW YORK // Summer 2015
The Anthropocene defines the geological epoch into which we have recently transitioned, characterized by the profound effects of human technological activity on the earth. Humans are having an impact in geological terms, so, increasingly, human decisions are what matter for all species. We must acknowledge the largely destructive character of our activities for other species, degrading habitat at a catastrophic rate, in turn raising the threat of a mass extinction. Scientists estimate that there will be a thirty percent die-off by the mid-21st century, in numerical terms the disappearance of three of the ten million species that exist on earth by 2050. As habitat loss causes species loss, so the drop in biodiversity leaves ecosystems increasingly vulnerable to ongoing damage. Species Wall Pavilion initiates HAT's research on habitation systems for pollinators.
The pavilion brings the formal rigor of Mies’s corners and book-matched veneers together with a program of bird inhabitation. Housing avian species presents an ecological urgency for which this pavilion represents the first iteration of building for non-humans: here we seek to accommodate 4 types of local cavity-dwelling birds including the northern flicker, black capped chickadee, tree swallow, and eastern bluebird . Our cast concrete panels provide on-human “comfort”: acting as a thermal barrier, predator block, and interior rainwater flushing. The asymmetrical relations of Mies’s walls here charge us to consider the asymmetries between man and other species.