I am a gardener architect.
My practice investigates how the design of built and grown architectures can nurture and express dynamic, and more equal, relations between humans and their ecosystems, and ways of creating with their emergence to enhance their resilience.
This "architectural animism", is a way of designing buildings and landscapes with the agency and creativity of ecosystems, other-than-human and human beings combined. The research takes a new materialist and ontopolitical stance and aligns with regenerative design practices.
The focus of the practice is on setting adjustable conditions for what will happen after the completion of the project such as the activities of the inhabitants, the vegetation that will grow on the buildings. The aim is to establish environmental conditions that will allow life to thrive in its diversity using the energy found in situ.
I have taught architectural design at various levels from undergraduate to Master’s Degree (M. Arch and M. A.) and currently lead Design Studio DS4 here at Westminster as well as supervise students in the Master in Landscape architecture at the Bartlett, UCL, London.
The studio investigates the architecture of ecological processes. The students speculate on possible ecological futures that nurture the resilience of ecosystems. Such holistic approach works with both fields of buildings and landscapes architectures as a continuum of degrees of shelter.
We have previously looked at retrofitting London suburbia with permaculture design principles, and investigated architectures for the practice of living system design processes and the sharing and development of the knowledge of such practice.
This year we will look at the architecture of fermentations, simultaneously as a brief, as a building material, and as a metaphor for regenerative design approaches.
I have been design critic at the architecture schools of Cornell University, London Metropolitan University (CASS), University of Greenwich & London South Bank University.
The research is developed through a reflective practice methodology. The methods are varied and mesh the design and realisation of build and grown architecture, theoretical and literary writing, and reflective drawings and photographs.
The first phase of practice research was extracted in the PhD thesis The gardener architect: designing with the emergent natures of places, which was completed at KU Leuven following the through reflective practice methodology developed by Leon van Schaik at RMIT.
The current focus is on "modern animism", an ontology and practice model that combines both the control of modernist knowledge and the creativity of a vibrant world. The research aims to clarify the possible productive relations between the efficiency of mainstream design practices and those of "regenerative" processes. It is currently reflected on through the writing of a series of letters between the various actors – human and other – found in the practice.
The key case study is a 3 hectares property in France where both landscape and building architecture have been designed over the last decade to speculate on dynamic relations with the various living beings, ecosystems of various scales including meadows, woodland, trees, climate, and other human beings.
You can often find me there scything a meadow.