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Expanding the Notion of Care in Architecture: Recovering a more-than-human Third Landscape in Kyoto

Format: Papers, RSD12, Topic: Architecture & Planning, Topic: Socioecological Design

Annan Zuo and Frederick Steier

Drawing on de la Bellacasa’s Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds (2017), this research-design project aims to expand the conceptual framework of care in architecture by incorporating the agency of non-human entities (Fitz and Krasny, 2019). With the declining Satoyama landscape in Kyoto—an agricultural landscape in Japan historically shaped by care—a physical context featuring sika deer, secondary Satoyama woodlands, and Kyomachiya (traditional townhouse in Kyoto). Local remaining residents are reconceptualised as a neglected more-than-human assemblage—a Third Landscape that calls for care.

The presentation, 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, which pairs four junior designers with four senior members of the American Society for Cybernetics.

KEYWORDS: care, architecture, more-than-human, the Third Landscape, landscape recovery, Kyoto, Satoyama landscape

RSD TOPIC(S): Architecture & Planning, Socioecological Design

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Citation Data

Author(s): Annan Zuo and Frederick Steier
Year: 2023
Title: Expanding the Notion of Care in Architecture: Recovering a more-than-human Third Landscape in Kyoto
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
URL: https://rsdsymposium.org/care in architecture
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Washington DC, USA
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 30 September 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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