Talking about natural architecture.Infiltrate Nature in Housing: the Quest for a Better Habitat
by Celine Hervé
In our changing society, nature is increasingly invited to take place in our lives, but «nature» usually means plant. By applying this term to trees and grass you lose the complex notion of the word, which in itself is completely gear. So by nature we must understand the natural elements, not just the plant but also wildlife, wind, rain and all other physical mechanical or biological properties which is in our natural environment.
I chose to try to tame nature in the home for the well-being with the aim to re-connect man to his environment.
It is a work of co-creation between the designer and nature to bring about a dialogue between man and his natural environment within the habitat. As you say in your book, David Nash talk about a Buddhist maxim who says that "it is better to work with nature to seek to dominate." It is in this context that I want my project to evolve.
Nature as raw material is a concept that previously worked in various fields such as art (the land-art and arte povera), architecture (the land-arch and natural architecture) and design a research context of sustainable projects.
Reconnect with nature through "natural" habitat means working with a changing and living environment, uncertain and sometimes violent. The interest is to reveal that both attention and that is natural around us by a sensitive and effective project that offers a new reading of nature and of our surroundings.
What I want to know about your thinking ...
- Do you think the wind and rain can be used in the construction of a habitat?
Alessandro Rocca: Wind and rain are used in the construction of our habitat. The shape of a roof, the position of the windows… everything in the house design is (and always was) determined in function of the meteo factors. What is new is a change in performance. If before we wanted to delegate every work, every energy, to the machinery, today we accept to make some work by ourselves. It means that we can accept that the climate, in our home, is not totally controlled. That our hot water is not always at the same temperature, that light and humidity can change because of the weather evolution.
- What do you mean by the word nature?
A.R.: For me, nature is the material condition of the project. But I want avoid any form of naturalism. I remember as Alain Roger wrote (in his “Court traité du paysage”) that landscape is a notion totally included in a cultural system. I think that nature, in the same way, is a cultural idea. That is, changing place or time it changes completely. It is enough to confront the traditional architecture in Europe and in Japan for a clear evidence of this point.
- As an architect, is your ideologies-with nature can actually speak in your work?
A.R.: My ideology wants to be very hybrid, very corrupted, in some way, because i really don’t need and don’t trust any ideology. More than an ideology is an idea, which can expand or shorten in function of the occasions, but that keeps in its core something that for me is important and fundamental. It is something related to an idea of human ecology that I understood also trough my frequentation of Gilles Clément. It is something that i cannot reduce in a slogan, in a formula, but that i can recognize when i meet or i find it.
- Do you think there is a link between nature and well-being?
A.R.: Of course, we are natural being, animals without innocence who look for their nature. We have a complicated relation with our animal side, an host which knows us better than ourselves. The link is our neurosis, the disease of the modern man, and woman, lost forever outside the original garden.
- Do you think that man and nature can work together?
A.R.: Yes, of course, but it is a rhetoric that sounds dangerous. I prefer to recognize that we are in a conflict, in a war, against nature, and that we are working to program an exit strategy.
- Or is that nature is the boss?
A.R.: In my opinion, there is no boss, just a chaos of forces and energies which sometimes work together and often conflict. For me, the lonely answer to the question is the project strategy. The project, the point of view of the designer, has the right character to be flexible and assertive at the same time, keeping together the multiple factors of our incoherence.