Architecture is, by definition, invasive. It occupies and takes over what is already there. Building is destroying. Despite Heidegger’s definition, where space and therefore architecture is defined as the art of “spacing”, liberating, it seems that architects have primarily been concentrated on the opposite activity. We have focused our work on enclosures, throwing hermetic objects into the city fabric.
Enclosure was the main preoccupation of zoo manager and revolutionary zoo thinker Carl Hagenbeck. In 1907, he opened a zoo in Stellingen, near Hamburg, based on the principles he had developed: a naturalistic milieu where barriers had been made invisible and animals could be seen in a reenacted natural environment. Living creatures were observed by the visitors in a panoptical display replicating their natural habitat. This new model remained an important reference and is nowadays the most common in zoos around the world. The fate of many animal species, being a mere entertainment for mankind while avoiding any contact, was influenced by this model.
Glass panels held, in architectural modernity, the promise of freedom and democracy through transparency. We now know for a fact that glass can be a pervert enclosure device, forcing transparency, presenting the inside world as a show window, as a Hagenbeck cage.
Some living spices occupy the ground, the earth on which our buildings and cities sit upon. They exist before the arrival of architecture. They live and create what we call dirt, sometimes event disgust. They reproduce themselves continuously. Here they are caged inside the glass, threatening to invade the world, eventually breaking the transparent enclosure. Our lives sit on the hope that the birds will visit the glass cage, frequently, to perpetuate the cycle of life.
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