New conversation between Scottish architect and anthropologist on the urban revolution “living nature must be part of the new architecture”
Relationship between man and nature, observation of plants, environmentAnimals are at the center of this new installment to learn from what’s other than us urban revolution, Stefano Boeri’s dialogue series with international heroes of architecture, science and culture to examine changes in metropolises after the pandemic. The interlocutor of the urban planner, author of Vertical Forest, is Tim Ingold, a Scottish anthropologist, Professor Emeritus at the University of Aberdeen and a member of the British Academy. His essay in Italy has recently been published for Raffaello Cortina. correspondence, a poetic and personal investigation of the ways we exist in the world around us.
How can we learn from nature to create a more sustainable lifestyle?
Tim Ingold: “Keeping in mind that sustainability should be concerned and should include all forms of life. It is a fundamental principle. It cannot be confined to a single moment. We find the planet to be a set of complex relationships As must be believed, we are not single individuals, but part of a larger field of relationships in which every human, plant, animal has a role to play; it is what keeps the world moving. Today we are company Let’s think of sustainability as a balance sheet, net calculation: “How much does it cost me?” “How much do I make?” We need to abandon this “business model” approach and think about “everything”. Of course this is a more philosophical concept, but many politicians, engineers and architects must also take it into account.”
Stefano Boeri: “I agree. In recent months I’ve thought a lot about the way you use the word meshwork , literally “intertwining”, to describe how lines are joined together in a life form motion rather than the fixed points of a chessboard or network. Just imagine how in a matter of weeks we all came across a microbe that made us realize how much “nature” is not something that is outside of our covers, our homes, our cities; Something that we can still control, stem, limit. A microbe has managed to refute decades of academic efforts to stop the world and objectify nature as if it were an outside field to us. After all, even watching animals occupy our cities vacated by lockdown, we understand how close animal life is interacting with us”.
TI: «We must learn to look at the world beyond scientific objectivity, in search of truth. To observe means to pay attention to what “other” things tell and teach us. Objects, plants, animals tell us about them and educate us to see them. It is something that is related to the ability to respond to what we see in a moral, legal, emotional sense. Everything in the world is mixed and remains alive thanks to this “mixing”. For example, the body is made up of microbes that survive through our exchanges, hugs, shaking hands. Man has focused too much on the task of extracting resources so he has broken a chain of equilibrium. Torn substances from their natural context become toxic, as is the case with mercury, nickel and other substances: in purity they become harmful. We must find a way to give back to the world what it has given us: air, water, food. Our relations with each other should be based on reciprocity, not extraction. The pandemic seems to have done us good in that sense, but I feel bad that we are already forgetting what we experienced.”
SB: “You attach great importance to the anthropological idea of listening, a very fertile concept that I try to apply in my work as an architect as well”.
TI: «Anthropology should be the science of taking others seriously. We should listen to all the people. To ignore the intellect and culture of millions of people in the time of crisis like the one we are facing is very rubbish. We still think of parts of the world as places to move around, observe through our lenses and then write down theories.”
SB: “I Know You Love Charles Baudelaire, His Concept” Flaneur , the gentleman who roams the city streets and gazes at the landscape, does that convince you?”
TI: « He is a personality that I really like, but I am more impatient, I do not identify with him. Flanner has plenty of time to wander around, to become curious, but then he never turns his curiosity into something practical. On the other hand, I think the desire to know can change the world. The observer should be concerned with the dynamic, not the stationary space. It is the Greek concept of kairos, the perfect moment, in which everything is aligned and you know how and where in the world to move”.
SB: “Does it have anything to do with the tension between the two poles?”
TI: “Yes, of course. It’s also a question of accuracy. Speed right, because you stand up for yourself. That’s what happens to fishermen, they wait hours on the banks of the river, it’s like they just watch the flow of water.” See, indeed they are very attentive and are ready with their hooks when the fish comes.”
Trees and plants are a very important part of both of us. What has he taught you?
SB: “I was fascinated by your image of ‘forests as churches.’ In short, it was an attempt to demonstrate that living nature can be part of architecture. Just as the homes we live in do not have a “decoration,” there should be enough – and not ornamental – plants and trees. In addition, we should always bear in mind that there are other intelligences besides us – and plants have much to teach us. Study of the interrelationship of plants, animals and human life that is renewed every day in the Vertical Woods By doing, we have understood for example that trees have an innate sensitivity that guides them and makes them move right; how to approach the leaves ».
TI: « Goethe described how to learn from plants as early as the 19th century, when he suggested sitting down and observing the roots, leaves and their movements. If we listen to these forms of life, their way of thinking penetrates us, so we see with their eyes, we feel what they feel. It’s not a miracle. It is a pity that institutional science does not consider it a method, even if, in part, this approach is changing. It is interesting to note how the etymology of the word “material” refers to the Latin word “mater”, mother. The ancient Romans also used the word with the meaning of “root”, the womb being a type of root from which life proliferates. I believe the carpenters of the past had in mind that materials were a living thing. We are not surrounded by museum objects, things are constantly changing from inside and outside, this is how we have to think about today’s environment ».
Are there examples of cities that combine green spaces with people devoted to culture?
TI: “I can’t think of a single example. Unfortunately, in recent years, of course, I haven’t traveled much; among other things, I’ve decided that, from now on, I’ll just train Many places in the world are doing well in this sense. However, I believe that contemporary cities should be considered not only as places where you live, work and spend free time , but where food is produced. It is increasingly important to ensure that people eat at or near zero kilometers. We have to break the very long production chain, the future of the metropolis depends on it. The architects of today and tomorrow should study the foundations of agriculture, there are already many enlightened urban planners like you, but politicians should also follow this example, the renewal of politics goes right through urban centres. We must understand them as the environment that We must learn so that we can get most of the things we all need ».
sb, “There must be two movements for me: trees towards cities and men towards forests. Which does not mean colonizing forests, but returning to their habitats to take care of them. As well as finding that cities are already there. They are rich in biodiversity, which is also essential for our immune system.
TI: “True, the greatest biodiversity in England is found along highways, in large urban centers and in private gardens.”
November 28, 2021 (Change to November 28, 2021 | 09:56)
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