39186 Vacant Rooms
With the collaboration of Instituto Iberoamericano de Finlandia
Since 1970, 68% of vertebrates on Earth have become extinct. For smaller creatures and plants, the number is likely to be even higher and one of the main reasons is the change that has happened in land use over the last 50 years. Urbanization has been rapid and as contemporary Western societies draw a clear line between built and natural environments, our cities are not built with the needs of non-human species in mind. While we might enjoy visiting nature, most of us don’t live amongst it anymore. When other animals or organisms try to inhabit our attics or barns, we are quick to clean them out. As cities continue to grow, we must find ways of accommodating nature within our cities, if we are to stop the irreversible biodiversity loss. This means that architects need to start designing not only for humans, but also for other living beings. Pollinating insects are of particular importance, as they are essential to all food production on Earth.
39186 Vacant Rooms blurs the boundary between human and natural. It creates a sanctuary in the city centre not only for people, but also for other species. The installation is an experience for festival goers, but at the same time the structure doubles as an insect hotel with tens of thousands of cavities for pollinating insects to dwell in. The permeable structure weaves together the two sides, city and nature, and forces us to ask: What needs to change in society, our sense of aesthetics and in our attitudes, for us to welcome other creatures and organisms back into our urban environments.
After the festival the installation can be disassembled into smaller units, which can be adopted by citizens to place in their backyards or on their balconies. This gives every festival goer an opportunity to be part of the change and help sustain biodiversity in the city.