werewolves evolve at cock crow - on the anthropocenic wild

by Maëldan Le Bris Durest from École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Nantes, France
Tutored by: Sabine Guth, Romain Rousseau

Author comments:

Wolves come out when dogs hide from the dark, when cocks crow and crows take off for a fly. The witching hour might not be midnight but rather that fleeting moment of dusk, when day and night cohabit. I chose that moment to enter the very special territory of the Mauve prairie in the city of Nantes and yet so distant of an urban order: place for outlaws, vast scale machinery, worst pollution but also wildest green.
In this time of global anthropocenic impact, I realised the wild could not just be an ideal inhabited nature; it had to be redefined as entities able to thrive by themselves although inextricably bonding with their environment. Hence as human beings what we need to start a dialogue with the other entities thriving out of our control are not soldiers: they are werewolves, diplomatic hybrids shedding old skin and new light. So I moulted, I evolved into a werewolf architect on the edge between urban order and wild rules, to explore every square meter of that vast territory of the Mauve prairie, under cover of dusk. I stepped out of the well-trod path and had to trust the filiations of the track where footprints are guides and huts are left for the next man.
The project, then required to take direct concrete actions as well as long sight inventive designs to restore continuities, subtly mark out new paths for habitants, hardly expose extraordinary coves for travellers, half-open the door to a better scientific understanding of resilience...

Tutor comments:

The studio Borderline (The project, as a critic attitude and research in action) offers the students drive and means of an enfranchised, meaningful and engaged practice of architecture. Teachers come from different disciplines: architecture, urbanism, geography, choreography, philosophy and art curating. Critical unveiling of the present production modalities create a new state of mind; the protocol based on a triple questioning encourages the student to displace its point of view and to define its positioning:
- the border/frontier as method: offset viewing and thinking, be at the limit of its discipline to meet the other disciplines and consider the border as a physical imaginary space, a crossing point, an in-between and a go-between will create a chance of a unique production of knowledge.
- thinking the unthought-of: consider situations neglected, recessed patterns of the making of the city, out of the fields of construction habits and rules.
- defy the limit: call into question the rules to come back to the spirit of the law, invent tricks, play with ambiguity and hybridize more than categorize.

Developed in the context of this studio, WEREWOLVES EVOLVE AT COCK CROW - ON THE ANTHROPOCENIC WILD is a stepwise project, go-between engineering and architecture. Learning with the hut, it suggests directions to half-open a suburban territory marked by anthropocenic savagery, giving the opportunity to become progressively fit to live, while regaining contact with the world.

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