Ancestors of Civita was born out of our interest in nature, architecture, and storytelling. The mystique of this isolated hilltown and visitors’ stories of the “dying city” conjured ideas of alternate possibilities for this unique place that are indeed void of humans. Specifically, the project delves into concepts of adaptive reuse, sustainability, and biomimicry by examining the patterns and methods of survival in non-human species. These mythic tales will explore how other species would develop this town in radically new ways specific to their evolutionary strengths. In considering all forms of life as having intrinsic value, we seek to create parallel worlds that will illustrate the value of seeing a built environment through the lens of a species that has very different considerations and values than our own.
Similar to The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins, a pilgrimage backwards through time describing animal evolutionary lineages, our study will illustrate the stories of three distinct classes of animals as we speculate and imagine their lives in Civita. Their transport, methods of construction, food supply and social interactions serve as the inspiration for transforming the town. As we are fascinated by animal communities the employ unique methods of creating their physical environments, we were led to select the termite (Insecta), the bird (Aves), and the spider (Arachnida). Given further research, other classes may be considered or those already chosen may take on orders or families specific to Central Italy. The following outlines characteristics and concepts that will strongly impact the developing scenes of each tale.
Tale of the Termites – tunneling (subtraction), accretion (additive), eusocial communities
Tale of the Birds – flight, nests (salvaged materials), communal roosting,
Tale of the Spiders – web (tensile structures), liquidized food supply, solidarity