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CREATURES ARE STIRRING

A GUIDE TO ARCHITECTURAL COMPANIONSHIP

AUTHORS: JOSEPH ALTSCHULER & JULIA SEDLOCK

'Creatures Are Stirring' is an optimistic manifesto that rescripts the anthropocentric narratives of Western architecture with new myths for a playfully compassionate and co-habitable future.

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This brilliant and engaging book uncovers the rich ecological potential of anthropomorphic architecture, of, that is, buildings whose shapes or movement styles are reminiscent of those of more obviously animate creatures. Appealing to a wide range of readers, Altshuler and Sedlock explore how structures with creature-like forms can induce less anthropocentric modes of human subjectivity—modes at odds with the fantasy of mastering the diverse and lively group of entities, materials, forces, and efforts that is the world. 'Creatures are Stirring' explores what architecture can do, and, more specifically, how it can work to elicit a sensibility and a future that is more joyful, less violent, and more intelligently entangled. Fascinating and inspiring.
—Jane Bennett, Johns Hopkins University, author of Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things

'Creatures Are Stirring' is a poetic collection that will help with the transition to this fuzzy and sometimes slippery post-anthropocentric way of being.
—Thomas Thwates, author of GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human

It’s fun to trip the light fantastic of animal metaphors but for learning, I turn to the true owner of our house, our spaniel, Aalto. His chosen lookout—our stair landing—views all routes to and through the house, it carries a heating pipe for his pleasure, and it lets him jump down quickly to bark at the mailman. Similarly, donkeys traversing steep landscapes trace out paths whose contours are well suited to their own carrying capacities and those of humans. Learning from creatures and critters, Altshuler and Sedlock produce an entertaining book that relates, plays, and interacts with urbanism, and reminds us to make buildings as habitable as a dog’s house.
—Denise Scott Brown, co-author of Learning from Las Vegas and Having Words

Stop making selfies out of nonhuman beings! No, please, for the love of God, stop it. This book will inspire you to do something much better instead.
—Timothy Morton, Rice University, author of Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People

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Once upon a time, humans used architecture to communicate a myth of ecological preeminence that has come to define our reality. Creatures Are Stirring argues that a contemporary creaturely architecture challenges violent relational hierarchies and their resulting inequities by narrating another story in which humans recognize agency and subjecthood within the interconnected matrix of things that we cohabitate. The book’s three mythological interludes begin with an alternative history of how early homo sapiens eliminated the megafauna that once threatened our species, and conclude with a myth depicting a radically inclusive future shared by humans, architecture, and other creatures. Woven between expository essays, these stories narrate how architecture that conjures megafauna through zoomorphism offers an alternative history and future of our cohabitation patterns by celebrating creaturely companionship.

The accompanying essays catalog and unpack a range of historical and contemporary examples, from Jean-Jacques Lequeu’s cow-shaped byre to John Hejduk’s nomadic masques, and speculate on the contemporary trajectory of creaturely architecture as a swerve from “Shape” projects of the early aughts. Where the Shape project’s legacy is a generation of cool otherworldly profiles and aloof graphic strategies, this book celebrates the earnest friendliness of low-resolution creaturely architecture whose empathy and warmth spawn innerworldy and gregarious environments. The book’s three external contributors advance this disciplinary-cultural conversation about who and what we as architects include when shaping worldly interactions. Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer’s work takes character traits of humans and animals and translates them into architectural strategies for space-making and interaction. Joyce Hwang’s work envisions physical structures for nonhuman beings and increases the spatial visibility of inter-species coexistence. Fred Scharmen’s work enacts the subjectivity of buildings through the internet of things while illustrating complex technological entanglements.

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“What if Architecture was not a tool but a friend, a subject with its own experience of the world and its own set of needs?”

“The Philosophy and know-how of the anonymous builders presents the largest untapped source of architectural inspiration for industrial man. The wisdom to bee derived goes beyond economic and esthetic considerations.”

“The Philosophy and know-how of the anonymous builders presents the largest untapped source of architectural inspiration for industrial man. The wisdom to bee derived goes beyond economic and esthetic considerations.”

“The Philosophy and know-how of the anonymous builders presents the largest untapped source of architectural inspiration for industrial man. The wisdom to bee derived goes beyond economic and esthetic considerations.”

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This book is visually seductive and accessible, using playful and imaginative imagery to illustrate what we mean when we talk about “creaturely architecture”. The tone of writing in the book alternates between fictional mythology and non-fictional architectural theory, and therefore appeals to both academic audiences and more mainstream, literary audiences. While there is a cohesive arc that runs through the book text from beginning to end, the book structure and the relationship between text and images also make it possible to pick it up and read one section at a time in any order. 

The market for this book will link audiences in several different fields and interest groups, including architects, architectural historians, landscape architects, urban designers, environmentalists, literary critics, animal scholars, animal lovers, and speculative futurists. While the book is primarily situated in the world of architecture, it aims to expand audiences for architectural content among a broader market of thoughtful readers interested in the social, environmental, philosophical, and cultural makeup of the built environment.


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Selected Works

Landscape ApproachDr. Shelagh McCartney, Samantha Solano, Sonja Vangjeli, Hannes Zander

Colors of RhetoricMaría Fullaondo

Koolhass For PradaProject type

Creatures are StirringJoseph Altschuler & Juila Sedlock

Innovation In PracticeValeria Federighi

Colors of RhetoricMaria Fullaondo

Landscape ApproachDr. Shelagh McCartney, Samantha Solano, Sonja Vangjeli, & Hannes Zander

CONTACT US
USA - San Francisco Bay Area
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USA - New York
Tel: +1(646) 322-2466
Asia - Singapore & China
Tel: +(65) 9068-1860
Tel: +(86) 755-84556863

CONTACT US
USA - San Francisco Bay Area
Tel: +1(415) 883-3300
Asia - Singapore & China
Tel: +(65) 9068-1860
Tel: +(86) 755-84556863

CONTACT US
USA - San Francisco Bay Area
Tel: +1(415) 883-3300
USA - New York
Tel: +1(646) 322-2466
Asia - Singapore & China
Tel: +(65) 9068-1860
Tel: +(86) 755-84556863

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