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Thresholds, Issue 42: Human


Editor: Tyler Stevermer

What constitutes an architecture that meaningfully engages with the human and its processes? Does Homo sapiens have specific habitat requirements or preferences? Is architecture powerful enough to guide the course of evolution? What counts as technology and how does it shape the species?

In the last decade innovations in cognitive imaging, computer interfaces, communication technologies, surrogate natures, sensory mediators, and global tracking have reshaped our understanding of the self. Can this shift inform new approaches in occupant-based design or are we still pushing towards an enlightenment-based, rationalist perspective of the human as a neurobiological mechanism? Do the technologies of our time continue to force us into a deterministic and mechanistic view of both occupants and design or have we formed new gateways of artistic and architectural possibility?

Thresholds issue 42 engages authors to define ‘human’ and consider the species with regards to its physical, virtual, and psychological habitat. As many of our authors will argue through various discourses, it’s impossible for an organism to not be affected by its environment. If this is indeed the case, should the architect not consider the inhabitant of the environments they create? Rather than leaving the influence of the built environment to chance, the contents of this issue suggest that the architect has the opportunity (and perhaps the obligation) to choreograph this encounter with intent.

The texts included provide histories, theories, and creative proposals to guide this conversation. They seek what it means to be ‘human’ and investigate what happens when the environment acts as mediator for biological processes.

Mark Jarzombek, Timothy Cooke, Andrew Ferentinos, Ginger Nolan, Stefan Helmreich, Mariel Villeré, Simone Ferracina, Harry Francis Mallgrave, Krister Holmes, Caroline A. Jones, Michael Hagner, Sofia Lemos, Nick Axel, Matt Johnson, Ryan R. Ludwig, Jillian Crandall, Elliott Sturtevant, Jenny Hall, Alissa van Asseldonk

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