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Architecture (MA)

Harry Tindale

Harry is a designer from Nottingham, previously completing his undergraduate at Newcastle University, since then he has worked on a number of Antarctica research stations for Hugh Broughton Architects. 

Harry’s work uses a narrative approach in multidisciplinary design spanning film, illustration, modelling and writing. At the RCA he has examined: the cultural inscriptions of lace making in Nottingham; an autoethnographic approach in the reading of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre; soap production as a form of leisure in the previous company town of Port Sunlight and the linguistic rewilding of children’s language. His dissertation on the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre and final thesis project have specifically looked at the way in which language acts as a post-completion component in the interpretation of our architecture and landscapes. 


The Zoo Came To Tea, offers alternative approaches in the rewilding of children’s language around linguistically extinct non-humans - by a transmedia methodology. The project accepts children’s understanding of nature, and how their belief systems are shaped by the unknown beings that exist within their language. By approaching conservation through this lens of fiction, the full linguistic zoo thus asks how might shared behavioural patterns alter in our approach to the Sixth Mass Extinction.

In 2007, the Oxford Junior Dictionary removed words related to nature. It revealed a list of entries it no longer thought relevant, as the Oxford University press claimed the dictionary must explain the consensus experience of modern childhood. Some deletions included acorn, adder, ash, kingfisher, heron, lark, magpie and otter. While the words introduced included broadband, chatroom, MP3 player and voice mail. 

We now live within the sixth mass extinction with 150 species becoming extinct everyday and England one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. 

If we lose the language that retains our relations with nature and place the subsequent generations are going to be less adept in dealing with the extinction crisis. As Robert Mcfarlane posits ‘A basic language-literacy of Nature is falling from us. And what is being lost along with this literacy is something perhaps even more valuable: a kind of language-magic, the power that certain words possess to enchant our imaginative relations with Nature and landscape’. 

The Zoo Came to Tea uses transmedia artefacts from ,fiction, performance, and reality to tell the narrative of an itinerant convoy who provides linguistic education at four sites of the human induced destruction of the habitat of the magpie, heron, adder and toad. The proposal itself is not the transformation but the catalyst in a new literacy of nature. 

The Zoo Came to Tea - TV Show

The TV show is conceived through the process of using Text-to-Image generation, as text-to-image prompting offers a purely lexical approach in the way we deal with designing for the conservation of children’s wildlife. The TV show acts as the central fictional mode of narrative which is complemented by books, toys, educational tools and importantly live events. Through this method of transmedia storytelling it can begin to tell the whole story of the Sixth Mass Extinction.

What emerges through the collaboration with Text-To-Image generation is the hidden forms associated within our language models, embedded within the animals who are linguistically alive within text. The architecture explores the idea of staging these non existent beings through varying typologies of language centred around speaking, listening, viewing and reading.

The Linguistic ZooThrough Text-to-Image generation
The Convoy The convoys vast scale and the surreal spatial needs of its gradual but constant movement suggest the lengths we must go in sustaining the biodiversity goals. The convoy's aims to illustrate COP 15s plea of “not pausing for a second” to halt the destruction of nature, even within the condensed areas of the different sites, we must go to great lengths in ‘flattening the curve’.

The Fictional TV show is set within UN’s 2050 goals for the biodiversity collapse. Where it tells the story of an itinerant zoo who’s convoy is 14 km long consisting of 1062 single lorry carriages. It’s intention is to rewild the language of the children through the zoo methodology providing biodiversity gains to the habits of the animals lost in the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Its speed a 100 times slower than garden snail pace by taking 143 days to travel a single mile - the period of slow moving means children live out their childhood with the Zoo Came to Tea as a continual performance of the conservation that must be performed.

It's contents are the requirements in the reconciliation ecology at the five interactions at site along its route, containing; the methane extraction plant used at Mucking; the tree saplings used in the Miyawaki Forest; irrigation balloons in sustaining the low level scrubland; Hawthorn Hedges and lots more. Territories emerge along the convoy in relation to the site episodes that house the biodiversity strategies.

Although fictional, can the convoy provide like trophic cascades, linguistic cascades which can alter the future of our ecosystems. Can it act in invigorating the next generation's literacy of nature or do these words even matter?

Johari Window
Johari Window

The linguistic zoo can be understood through the Joharis Window. We can now begin to see how the categorisation of the unknown knowns can be replaced by extinct, does no exist to reveal more specifically the hidden animals that exist within children’s language.

Myatt Park
Myatt Park The convoy creates a 8 acre Miywawki forest with the linguistic attraction of reading targeting the conservation of the magpie. The library is set up on a small corner of the grid controlling the intense growth of the forest.
Mucking Marshes
Mucking Marshes Finally, the convoy comes to Mucking set on top of the 9.8 million tonnes of old landfill from London city that now due to sea levels rising is destroying the habitat of the Heron. The theatre a way to view our language of the Heron as a solitary bird.
A40 The Chatty Adder habitat has been separated by Westway infrastructural project. The convoy eventually establishes the conference, a typology of speaking, the architecture is referenced from the surreal forms associated with the language embedded in the adder.

Young children meet language sensuously as well as semantically. Children who are learning to read the world through image, understand the visual structures that exist within images are as important to the written word. The book looks to create a supernatural setting through modes of reconciliation ecology for the conservation of the magpie, adder and heron. The drawings become my own translation of the TV show as a way to compliment the text.

Narrative Props
Narrative Props
Narrative Props

With children at the age of 5 only knowing 10000 words my approach to using the text to image generation used a similar paracosmic method.

Used in the design process to produce the narrative props in the fiction experimentation of how children's literature works in repetitive prompts like key words tea, wild or night. These were formed in a similar lexical process. 

The Props
The Heron
The Unknown.
The Landfill Gas Flare

The reaction by children to the March of the Penguin film undertaken by the New York Times reported that among other reactions, children thought the conviction of the film must be made by CGI, one child in particular asked, ”If they wanted to make the film so real, why did they use special effects..?”. Children are often introduced to wildlife through television, although the information is accurate, children are still skeptical over its reality as they have nothing to base their judgment on. These diegetic prototypes act as real fragmentary sculptures as traces of the convoy from the TV show becoming permanent monuments to the narrative, a linguistic attraction for children to visit and recognise the reality of the The Zoo Came to Tea's message.

The Journey The convoy is reduced to a more practical single flat bed lorries as it parades through towns and cities in England, synthesising and linking the whole of the Zoo Came to Tea tour.
The MotorwayA less fantastic version of the blue conference from the book offers a platform for children to speak about the adder. The architecture adapts to the scale of reality, squeezing under the bypass through scaffolding used from Myatt Park.
Reading Exchange
The ParkThe Library is presented through a screw on panelling system into a scaffold structure acting like a set to the narrative of Episode 1. Children now imagine if they were in the library pulling up a chair to read about the magpie amongst the flowers of their local park.
The LandfillThe theatre stage is separated into a three stage performance process of the Methane extraction as actors take on the position of the heron and the construction workers. Clearance of the top level of soil to extract the methane, the extraction process through a methane well and rewilding of the herons habitat through low level scrubland are the three acts told at the theatre.

The ultimate transmedia output for the rewilding of children's language is by a physical spatial retraining through a live performances of the TV show. Set within the context the Tv show locations, viewers adopt the assumptions and beliefs of the media content as reality as Language relativity states the language we use influences how we understand our environment. The architecture is a temporary spatial interventions in a less spectacular format of the Text-to-Image forms but considers the playful approach in rewilding children’s language as way to form novel relationships to these natural environments.

The sites are at destruction of the heron, magpie and adder's habitat. Set within the UK as the government seems to have no respect for the current extinction crisis. The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill could rip up thousands of legal protections that preserve our habitation, wildlife and water pollution. A bill baked in de-regulation (no proper parliamentary oversight) and sunset provisions (legislation could cease to exist if not saved by ministers) we are at risk of becoming the most nature-depleted country in the world.

Fan Fiction

If the effect of the children’s TV show and other transmedia elements are successful, children will want to act like their favourite characters. In my own fan fiction I perform as my favourite character, the magpie. Dressing and recreating the characteristics I learnt in episode 1 in the TV show.

Linguistic misconceptions assume the magpie is attracted to shiny objects but actually it is one of few species to perform visual self recognition and can remember the location of stored items.

The use of the heron, adder, otter, toad and magpie in the narrative is stemmed from Emma Marris's theory of the Post-Wild, stating to expand our values we must include the ecosystems of under appreciated spaces, whether they be in parks, motorways, gardens, or industrial districts. It is the enchantment of alive, sentient wildlife which will eventually rewild children's language.