Creatures Are Stirring

about the authors

Joseph Altshuler is assistant professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, cofounder of Could Be Architecture, a Chicago-based design practice, and the founding editor of SOILED, an architectural literary magazine.

Julia Sedlock is cofounder of Cosmo Design Factory, a Hudson Valley NY practice that combines residential client work with a commitment to local community development and activism. As a founding member of several local organizations, Julia collaborates with neighbors and local government to improve engagement in village life for all residents of Philmont, NY.

about the respondents

Joyce Hwang is associate professor and associate chair of architecture at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, and the Founder of Ants of the Prairie, an office of architectural practice and research that focuses on confronting contemporary ecological conditions through creative means.

Stewart Hicks is associate professor of architecture and associate dean of the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and founding partner of Design With Company. Allison Newmeyer is founding partner of the architectural practice Design With Company and adjunct associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Fred Scharmen teaches architecture and urban design at Morgan State University’s School of Architecture and Planning. He is cofounder of the Working Group on Adaptive Systems, an art and design consultancy based in Baltimore, Maryland.

Praise for Creatures are stirring

It’s fun to trip the light fantastic of animal metaphors but for learning, I turn to the true owner of our house, our spaniel, Aalto. His chosen lookout—our stair landing—views all routes to and through the house, it carries a heating pipe for his pleasure, and it lets him jump down quickly to bark at the mailman. Similarly, donkeys traversing steep landscapes trace out paths whose contours are well suited to their own carrying capacities and those of humans. Learning from creatures and critters, Altshuler and Sedlock produce an entertaining book that relates, plays, and interacts with urbanism, and reminds us to make buildings as habitable as a dog’s house.
—Denise Scott Brown, co-author of Learning from Las Vegas and Having Words

This brilliant and engaging book uncovers the rich ecological potential of anthropomorphic architecture, of, that is, buildings whose shapes or movement styles are reminiscent of those of more obviously animate creatures. Appealing to a wide range of readers, Altshuler and Sedlock explore how structures with creature-like forms can induce less anthropocentric modes of human subjectivity—modes at odds with the fantasy of mastering the diverse and lively group of entities, materials, forces, and efforts that is the world. Creatures are Stirring explores what architecture can do, and, more specifically, how it can work to elicit a sensibility and a future that is more joyful, less violent, and more intelligently entangled. Fascinating and inspiring.
—Jane Bennett, Johns Hopkins University, author of Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things

Stop making selfies out of nonhuman beings! No, please, for the love of God, stop it. This book will inspire you to do something much better instead.
—Timothy Morton, Rice University, author of Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People

Creatures Are Stirring is a poetic collection that will help with the transition to this fuzzy and sometimes slippery post-anthropocentric way of being.
—Thomas Thwates, author of GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human