Design for Farmed Species
An increasing awareness of the relation between agriculture, especially animal farming, and the climate and biodiversity crisis throughout the last few years induced new challenges of how we coexist with our farmed species and what role architects can play in designing agricultural territories.
Text: Dorothee Hahn / Jan Westerheide – 22.7.2021
Image: Peter Morf © Baugeschichtliches Archiv, Stadt Zürich
Rationalization of agricultural facilities in the postwar decades and increasing price pressure on farmers throughout the past century have paved the way for faster and cheaper buildings on the basis of strict separation between machinery, humans and farmed animals. Driven by the goal of self-sufficiency, modernization and industrialization in agriculture led to radical interventions in the Swiss countryside, increased livestock numbers, optimized stables and the overall invisibility and isolation of farmed animals from human contact. In this trajectory, to date, architects have seldom designed spaces for farmed species, leaving the complex field of animal farming to engineers and other specialists. In order to contribute by designing spaces and habitats that secure the animals’ existence, improve their welfare and promote biodiversity, architects have to acquire knowledge. This is what the team team around Milica Topalović focused on in their research and design studio New Ecologies – Soil, Water, Labour carried out by the chair of Architecture and Territorial Planning at ETH Zurich in 2020. A research’ summery can be found in the latest issue of archithese titled Koexistenz.
> Hans Hortig discussed in archithese’s Geopolitik-issue 3.2020 how agriculture and urbanization processes are connected
> «Wohin sind denn bloss die Kühe verschwunden und wann ist das eigentlich passiert?» Rem Koolhaas’ catalog Countryside asks important questions, but the answers are left to the reader.