The bacterial clients of modern architecture

Beatriz Colomina, Mark Wigley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Scopus citations


    The human is an unstable idea; simultaneously an all-powerful creature – capable of transforming the whole ecology of the planet – yet extremely fragile, a murky ghost.1 Contemporary research into our microbiome portrays the human itself as a mobile ecology constructed by the endless flux of interactions between thousands of different species of bacteria – some of which are millions of years old and others joined us just a few months ago. This challenges conventional understandings of architecture. What does it mean to house the human when we no longer think that the human organism is securely contained within its skin? What is the role of architecture when the humans occupying it are understood to be suspended in clouds of bacteria shared, generated and mobilized by other macro-organisms (pets, plants, insects…) and the building itself; when the human is not a clearly defined organism or in any sense independent; when the architectural client is a massive set of ever-changing trans-species alliances that make the apparent complexity of even the largest of cities seem quaintly uncomplicated.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)6-17
    Number of pages12
    JournalDocomomo Journal
    Issue number62
    StatePublished - Mar 31 2020

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Architecture
    • Urban Studies


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