Beyond Doomsday: Designing a post-natural preserve
Bailey, Callie Lynn
Master of Architecture
Over the course of the last few centuries human use and settlement has restricted many natural ecosystems to isolated clusters. Our Third nature---the biota and natural environments that accompany modern human uses---has become the connective tissue---a medium ill suited to this unintended new function. Consequently, the last thirty years have seen an exponential increase in the collecting and indexing of the natural world through the preservation of inert data and natural objects. While ex-situ preservation of inert or dead matter is relatively easy, the preservation of living systems (in situ or ex situ) presents a paradox: preservation implies a static condition, and living requires change. Preserving natural systems that evolved under one set of conditions and that are now suddenly in another requires a great deal of human management---a perversion of time and space---creating distinctly post-natural environments as simulations of past or desired landscapes. The Doomsday Annex is located in the midst of one of these preservation sites---A UNESCO Biosphere preserve on the island of Menorca. Preserving these systems in situ requires that we become invisible stewards, operating through temporary and mobile control mechanisms. Preserving them ex-situ requires a high degree of process control---indeed, it necessitates the creation of entire worlds, where gases, sunlight, and biota are all regulated. The annex attempts to privilege, facilitate, and showcase these methods of constructing a landscape.
Botany; Architecture; Environmental science