Joana Rafael is an architect, researcher and lecturer. Her work focuses on (issues of) ecology, human geography and natural sciences, encompassing contemporary culture, media studies, art and technology. She combines architecture as a discipline of thought and design practice, reflecting on the boundaries of buildings, infrastructures and (radiological-)contaminated territories. Engages in speculative thinking and writing to develop a critical distance from anthropocentric understandings and attend to reciprocal relationships between humans and nature. Joana teaches Contextual Studies and Contemporary Culture-related courses. She is a member of CEGOT (Center for Studies in Geography and Spatial Planning) and CEAA (Centro de Estudos Arnaldo Araújo). Joana is a cofounder of REFINERY BOARD.
A Letter to the Zoologists
+ SITE-SPECIFIC WRITING - Engaging with the Environment
Published in Innocence, San Rocco magazine, no I
In June 2005, The Guardian published an article by Will Alsop entitled "Flight of fancy" to announce a lecture part of the Doubt, Delight and Change, a retrospective exhibition of Cedric Price`s work. Tracing his influence and lines of thought through the experience as a collaborator in his office, Aslop professed Price to be interested in nature and, among a wealth of praiseful descriptions argued that the London Zoo`s Northern (Snowdon) Aviary was designed for a community of birds and the idea was that once the community was established, it would be possible to remove the netting.
Taking the word of the coworker into account, questioning its potential and drawing a eulogy upon it, A Letter to the Zoologists advocates the coherence of such an idea within efforts to preserve zoological species, and methods to perpetuate zoological facilities. The argument is sustained both by the attempt to engage with animal territorial behaviour and with architectural standard procedures, with the wish to trigger a dialogical space for the best of the birds housed, the zoological and the work of the architect.