EARTHLINGS ENCOUNTERS
NANJING, CHINA

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The study approaches two gradients. Firstly, an abstract grade, by making a catalog of how the humans and no-humans encounter could happen to allow us to explore all interfaces. Secondly, the particular situation consisted in identifying the existing boundaries of the zoo in the city and proposing new simple sections to improve the relationship between these two. We were inspired by the possibility of colonizing the zoo surroundings, understanding roofs, façades, ground floors and the city habitat as a canvas where wildlife could be spread and overlaped in which the limits between worlds get blurred.

It has been detected that the whole program, both the city and inside the zoo, are individual and autonomous elements without any relationship between them. In addition, one of the problems is the lack of contact of these built elements with the vegetation and nature. The proposal presented consists of “naturalizing” all the programs of the zoo and the immediate surroundings. Offering solutions in which vegetation plays the main role. Leaving behind rigid constructions, giving way to ephemeral, ecological and multipurpose constructions. And we also want to change the relationship between the visitors and the animals, and between pavilions.

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From our studio we’ve been studying the materiality of these new infrastructures as constructions made of sustainable and low carbon footprint materials, linking the new Zootopia to the idea of a post-natural environment for both humans and nonhumans. In this sense, we propose different degrees of complexity. We prioritize working directly with vegetation using trees like pillars, compacted earth blocks, bamboo and wood structures, stones for foundations, glass and steel. At the same time we want to awaken a sense of empathy of humans to non-humans by exploring two ideas:


The first one, is the idea of camouflage as a way of coexistence, where humans could be introduced to the different animal habitats almost without being seen and so they can get to live a close experience into the wild. The second one, is the possibility of the direct inclusion of humans into the experience of being an animal and to see from its point of view. Thus, one of the first things to do is to mentalize and to educate the visitor. By identifying the different types of characters who would normally visit a zoo, such as families, kindergarten groups, biology students… We understand that the human visitor is no longer a visitor, but another breed that makes up the zoo, equal to the elephants and monkeys. In this way, the establishment has been abolished in order to evolve the concept of zoo into the new Zootopia. Our proposal is not based on constructing buildings, but systems that are able to create a landscape overlapping both worlds. An immersive experience to merge humans and non humans. Earthlings together.

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