Annan Zuo and Frederick Steier
Drawing on de la Bellacasa’s (2017) Speculative Ethics of Care, the research-design project aims to expand the conceptual framework of care in architecture, as defined by Fitz and Krasny (2019), by incorporating the agency of non-human entities. With the declining Satoyama landscape in Kyoto—an agricultural landscape in Japan that is historically shaped by care – chosen as a physical context, sika deer, secondary Satoyama woodlands, Kyomachiya (traditional townhouse in Kyoto) and local remaining residents are reconceptualised as a neglected more-than-human assemblage—a Third Landscape that calls for care.
The project, articulated in the form of a picture book, traces the life cycle of a structural column from a Kyomachiya, adopting an animistic perspective – that of the column itself. Within this framework, care is defined as the ability to both receive and provide material, social, and ecological conditions that allow the vast majority of humans and other-than-human entities to thrive. Examining “the column” in its various states—as Japanese Cypress, structural components, and decomposed timber – the study reveals the complex interplay of receiving and giving care that includes the Satoyama woodlands, the deer, the inhabitants of Kyomachiya, and future generations of cypress trees. Within a broader context, the picture book narrates a landscape recovery design project, envisioning the systematic dismantling of abandoned residential structures, thereby contributing to the restoration and reinvigoration of the natural landscape.
This presentation is part of the Ecopoetic Formations for Transgenerational Collaboration scheme pairing four junior designers with four senior members of the American Society for Cybernetics.