Facing Microbiome Diversity
Redefining the Relationshipbetween Body, Standards,and the Built Environment
The world is covered in microscopic, invisible ecosystems, consisting of countless microbes. Each human body is inhabited and constituted by trillions of microorganisms, which are in a constant exchange with their surroundings. The human is a fluid and ever-changing interspecies collaboration, consisting of a highly individual set of microbes. To this day, designers and architects use identity codes such as size, dimensions, age, sex, and ability, as standardization benchmarks for the built environment. Microbes, humans and the environment are mutually defining each other. However, human diversity and their microbes' fluidity are rarely taking into account while designing the built environment. This inconsideration persists despite the known fact that microbes influence humans' physical and mental well being as well as determine personality and behavior.
This thesis investigates a world where standards are based on the fluidity of oh the human's microbial beings, where microbes are an integral part of the design process, and where the built environment is designed around our complex biological needs. By juxtaposing the findings of scientific research papers in the field of the human microbiome, with architecture and design theory on the standardization of the human body and the built environment, this thesis aims to contribute to a more nuanced definition of the human body. By proposing fluid microbial standards, the text envisions a future in which design choices will depend on parameters like physical and mental health, next to size and dimensions. Thus, design can gain important additional components for the creation of more balanced and healthy environments, hence the enhancement of human bodies and their capacities.
Concept, Text, and Design:Valerie Daude
Master ThesisMaster Social DesignDesign Academy Eindhoven 2019