Student Works: Convergent Species

We will regularly be publishing student projects and thesis research titled Student Works that is an extension of themes related to infrastructures and networks of habitats and resources. The first is a project by Vivian Chin, a recent M.Arch graduate at University of Toronto, whose research "Convergent Species" is a study on territorial boundaries of animal and human occupation.

She distinguished between convergences that are constructive, and therefore have a political motivation, and convergences that are inadvertent, and therefore have an environmental impact.

Vivian writes:

The expansion of human territories has dramatically overlapped with animal boundaries and activities, allowing geographic, socio-economic, and cultural forces to effect mutations in behaviour. These overlaps generate two kinds of boundaries; inadvertent, and constructive. Animals that augment their habitation through symbiotic relationships with human activities exist in inadvertent boundaries. Constructive boundaries such as national borders, or conflict, generate habitations due to marginalization and opportunism. Animals which inhabit these boundaries should neither be considered domestic nor wild, but a new group which is defined by their contingency to both human and natural environment. This thesis seeks to respond to these inadvertent and constructive boundaries and question the potential of adaptation, mutualism, and co-habitation.

Territory #6: CHERNOBYL, ZONE OF EXCLUSION ("THE ZONE")
Radiation is absorbed by soil, vegetation, and water but is not retained by asphalt. With the concept of adaptation, asphalt as a building material suggested in the Chernobyl studies.


Territory #4: UNITED KINGDOM, FALKLAND WAR
A raised walkway platform allows visitors to extend out to the sea, occupying the minefield differently in section, as humans and penguins coexist without disturbance between the two.


Territory #10: KOREA, DEMILITARIZED ZONE
After 56 years of Cold War between North and South Korea, trains are now running between the two nation. The first voyage was made on May 17, 2007, through the DMZ. A train station and duty free shopping centre is proposed on the mid-point between North and South Korea. This train station also acts as a animal crosswalk.


Territory #2: FLORIDA, RIVIERA BEACH POWER STATION
Every winter, there are as many as 200 manatees which gather around the power plant’s warm water outfall. The highest single manatee count was 479 in the winter of 2003. New programs – hotel, spa, restaurant, and pool – are inserted into the power plant infrastructure to form convergent territories, where all habitants are mutually beneficial. These program insertions are based on power plant operation, to generate mutualistic relationships between the existing power plant and manatees with new forms and occupants.

If you would like to contact Vivian about her research and project, you can reach her here.

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