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Wild Talks: Animal architecture

Tickets available soon

7 Dec 2024 2:00 pm -3:30 pm

Kanaris Theatre

Free, booking required

Animal architecture

with Paul Dobraszczyk

Only a few animals are architects.

For example, birds, wasps and bees build nests, spiders weave webs, termites create mounds, molluscs build shells, beavers engineer whole landscapes. But many more animals have strong relationships to our own buildings, even if, in some cases, we’d rather they didn’t.

This talk takes three animals – pigeons, peregrine falcons and beavers – to explore how we can develop more awareness and greater care towards animals in our buildings and cities. So, first, we might create buildings for animals – pigeon lofts and dovecotes for example; second, animals might choose to inhabit our buildings – peregrine falcons on high towers; and third, animals might themselves build – beavers constructing lodges and dams. Providing a richly illustrated take on this subject, this talk asks what might be required to design with animals and how we can become more attuned to the other lifeforms that already use our structures.

Paul Dobraszczyk

Matthew O'Donnell

Paul Dobraszczyk

Paul lives in Manchester and lectures in architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. He’s published many books, the most recent being Botanical Architecture: Plants, Buildings and Us (Reaktion, 2024), Animal Architecture: Beasts, Buildings and Us (Reaktion, 2023), and Architecture and Anarchism: Building Without Authority (Paul Holberton, 2021).


Matthew O’Donnell

Matthew is an experienced herpetologist, conservationist and molecular ecologist who has been a part of the Museum’s Vivarium for 10 years. Driven by a passion for the natural world, he strives to combine science communication and cutting edge research to help conserve some of the rarest species in the world. As curator of herpetology, his goal is to develop partnerships with NGOs, local/international communities and researchers through the lense of amphibian conservation, as a route to deliver on our mission to build understanding between cultures and a more sustainable world.

In addition to his primary job functions, Matthew is also completing a PhD in molecular ecology – ‘Environmental DNA metabarcoding as a conservation tool for monitoring endangered herpetofauna’ and has been actively involved in the museum’s Enviornmental Action Group (EAG) as co-chair since its inception in 2022.