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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.106 Santiago dic. 2020 

Works and projects

Animalesque: Urbanism of Coexistences

Animalesque Group1 

1 Architectural Association Visiting School Extended Programme, Berlín, Alemania.


True coexistence implies understanding that as humans we not only depend on other living beings but also have a lot to learn from them. This set of projects in Berlin explores different models of letting animals be, understanding their own ways of making architecture, and integrating them into our human practices.

Keywords: coexistence; urbanism; integration; ecosystems; project

Source: Animalesque archive

Figure 1 Honey Spine prototype mounting process for the Aedes Bee Garden project, Berlin, 2018. Team: Oksana Tyltina, Theresa Lohse, Paulina Krebs, Cecilia Santamaria. 

All over the world, cities and their infrastructures are expanding at the cost of the destruction of incalculable ecosystem chains, causing ecological imbalances and the progressive extinction of species. Wild animals are displaced from their habitats and forced to search for new territories. Many end up living nearby or even within high-impact urban areas, where they are offered opportunities for food and living space. There, their possibilities for survival will depend on their ability to adapt.

The anthropocentrism that our species has imposed on all others has unbalanced our position within the animal kingdom, founded on what we often see as an evolutionary success: the exploitation and extermination of animals and plants. But the effects of this imbalance are becoming more and more evident and are manifesting in our way of life. Deforestation, pollution or droughts generated by climate change are no longer distant realities. The biodiversity crisis is a crisis of interspecies coexistence, an inability carried along throughout our human and urban history; an inability to conceive cohabitation as a fundamental ecosystem condition, both for self-preservation and for the preservation of other individuals.

In what way then, architecture and urban planning can play an active role in this problem? How can we think of cities that physically and socially promote the coexistence of species when the natural habitats that surround them are progressively destroyed by the monofunctionality of agricultural, industrial or energy landscapes?

This, for now, requires a cultural change capable of recognizing the value of biodiversity, seeing it as something that can be gestated and developed in the heart of cities and not just as a passive natural spectacle deployed outside of them. A paradigm shift that necessarily brings about the appearance of new responsibilities and habits in the lives and spaces we inhabit; where architecture, hand in hand with other disciplines, can collaborate in the creation of situations of encounter, discovery and appreciation of other species without restricting them to live in parks or nature reserves, and, instead, generating ecological niches embedded in the urban fabric. This would make it possible to intensify biodiversity on the scale and elements that shape our daily space. Streets, sidewalks, facades, roofs, balconies, gardens, are all dormant spaces for the proliferation of new habitats and the formation of biotopes or micro-ecosystems. This is, in our opinion, the starting point for an urban planning of coexistence. A model that easily, efficiently and economically, can operate within what already exists, attracting and bringing different species of plants, insects, birds or mammals to the urban environments in which we normally operate.

We assume that awareness regarding the existence and presence of other species in our environment is not purely a problem of empathy and reciprocity, but also implies an understanding of the active role that other living beings have in the production of our environment. The animal presence is essential for the development of multiple processes linked to the existence of life, such as pollination, recycling, cleaning or oxygenation. Its integration into urban dynamics leads to greater vitalization, increasing biodiversity and permeating the boundaries between the spaces designed by us with those instinctively created by other species.

Berlin has been the center for the human-animal coexistence explorations carried out by Animalesque. Berlin is a city of extraordinary wildlife, with the richest fauna in all of Europe, moving through an open web of ecological corridors and micro-regions. Thousands of species interact within them in a sort of animal urbanism - often hidden from our sight - in constant growth and strengthening. This privileged condition holds unique opportunities for the development of cohabitation initiatives. There are countless ecological niches, extensive nesting territories, orchards, farms for the cultivation of insects, biotopes, organized networks of urban beekeepers and animal protection organizations, instances established thanks to complex and multiple local initiatives that have reached dimensions of an urban, cultural, and political nature.

This is the context in which Animalesque has had the support of both individuals and institutions, moving in an area that is nourished by multiple educational, scientific, philosophical, artistic, political or even nutritional experiences, related to coexistence with animals. Our role is to bring together and to curate different visions and projects to develop a space for action and thought regarding the cities of a future that integrates the layers of infrastructure produced by animals and humans.

Bee Garden


© AA Animalesque projects

Prototyping workshop and exhibition with TU Berlin students, transforming the ANCB garden into a bee Nesting Garden to enhance urban pollination.

Source: Animalesque archive

Figure 2 Illustration: Veronika Prazanova 

Source: Animalesque archive

Figure 3 City Hive prototype, Aedes bee garden. Team: Cansu Kacar, Dila Ünlü, H. Burak Hamurisci, Gulsah Durmaz, Natalya Dikhanov. 

Figure 4 City Hive diagram of coexistence. Team: Cansu Kacar, Dila Ünlü, H. Burak Hamurisci, Gulsah Durmaz, Natalya Dikhanov. 

Source: Animalesque archive

Figura 5 Cyclops prototype coexistence diagram. Team: Undine Kimmel, Katharina Kocol, Monika Pawlak. 

Source: Animalesque archive

Figure 6 Cyclops prototype placed and assembled to a tree. Team: Undine Kimmel, Katharina Kocol, Monika Pawlak. 

Source: Animalesque archive

Figure 7 Honey Spine prototype Team: Oksana Tyltina, Theresa Lohse, Paulina Krebs, Cecilia Santamaria. 



© AA Animalesque projects

AA Visiting school 2018, working with real insects to find systems of collaborative construction, conducted and presented at Aedes Architectural Forum.

Source: Jorge Godoy; Animalesque archive

Figure 8 Plastic eating worms. Team: Carolyne Couston (Germany), Lea Baur (Germany), Ricardo Vivanco (Chile), Victoria Mohr (Chile). 

Source: Jorge Godoy; Animalesque archive

Figure 9 Crickets sound caves. Team: Karim Rouabah (UK), Lea Baur (Germany), Maria Bulmaga (Australia), Phong Nguyen (Vietnam), Tomiris Batalova (Kazakhstan). 

Source: Jorge Godoy; Animalesque archive

Figure 10 Plastic eating worms. Team: Carolyne Couston (Germany), Lea Baur (Germany), Ricardo Vivanco (Chile), Victoria Mohr (Chile). 

Source: Jorge Godoy; Animalesque archive

Figure 11 Metamorfosis process. Team: Aljaž Rudolf (Slovenia), Natalya Dikhanov (Germany), Tomiris Batalova (Kazakhstan), Vladyslav Afanasiev (Ukraine), Anne-Marie Heydeck (Germany). 

Source: Michela Dai Zovi; Microcosmos archive

Figure 12 

The Nest


© AA Animalesque projects

Design and building of a huge nest installation as part of the Climate Care Festival at the Floating University water basin.

Tutors: Jorge Godoy, Ana Zatezalo, Sjoerd Krijnen, Florentin Steininger, Erika Mayr.

Students: Tomás García de la Huerta (Chile), Gastón Hermida (Argentina), Xaviera Gleixner (Chile), Javiera Vargas

(Germany), Gabriela Zarwanitzer (Argentina), Christian Danke (Chile), Bianca Belk (Brazil), Amanda Morales (Chile), Marija Vujovic (Croatia), Antonella Giovanelli (Argentina), Merve Sahin (Palestine), Osvaldo Almendra (Argentina)

Source: Jorge Godoy; Animalesque archive

Figure 13 

Source: Sjoerd Krijnen; Animalesque archive

Figure 14 

Source: Sjoerd Krijnen; Animalesque archive

Figure 15 

Animalesque Group

Animalesque is a Berlin-based group founded in 2018, and led by Jorge Godoy, Ana Zatezalo, Sjoerd Krijnen and Florentin Steininger. The group is committed to investigate the meaning and potential of animal wildlife in the city, and to stimulate design that is beneficial to all species. As part of the Architectural Association Visiting School Program, Animalesque has developed an interdisciplinary agenda, collaborating with ecologists, biologists, artists and academics. After introducing insects as the first layer of animal life in 2018, the research scope was extended to birds in 2019, and to mammals in 2020.

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