Symbiotic House is a project catalyzed by Lee Pivnik in 2022 to research and develop adaptive architectural solutions to Miami’s environmental precarity, and to conceptualize and design a “multi-use space for multi-species survival”. The project’s aim is to reimagine the home as a potential site for climate care, an active hub for offsetting carbon emissions, rewilding landscape, supporting biodiversity, and adapting to environmental change. Symbiotic House will ultimately manifest as a living earthwork that functions as a regenerative shelter and center for interdisciplinary art and ecology research in South Dade.

The project intends to broaden the design process so that the space emerges organically through communal workshops, open research, and constant feedback. It is meant to invite the local community of South Florida into a collective act of dreaming up new practices for how to best adapt to the intersecting climate and housing crises, so that the people living at the epicenter of these issues are treated as the experts in mitigating them.  

Leading climate anthropologist Anna Tsing defines precarity as “the condition of being vulnerable to others.” Embracing precarity can make different ways of living possible, lifeways that are more visibly entangled with natural systems and other species. This project aims to enact a mutualistic relationship between the built and natural environment, through the creation of a structure that is adaptable to Florida’s changing climate, and net positive, designed to follow the rigid guidelines of the Living Building Challenge. 

Following in the legacy of other prototype “House of the Future” projects and Florida roadside tourist attractions, Symbiotic House will embody a shift towards building in a way that benefits the environment, while functioning as a cultural center and artist residency so that it can inspire more widespread transformation towards regenerative design. 

Two years of open and collaborative research will culminate in the construction of a dual-function habitable shelter and art and ecology center in the Redlands, Miami-Dade’s agricultural area. Consultants from local businesses and non-profits will be engaged to help craft a multi-use business model for Habitat so the project can be not only environmentally sustainable but also economically viable.

Symbiotic House is generously supported by a 2021 Knight Arts Challenge Grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with additional support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

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Lee Pivnik is a Miami-based artist, working predominantly in sculpture, video and social practice. In 2018 he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Sculpture and a concentration in Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies, and in 2022 he attended the Immersion Program at The School of Architecture (TSOA) at Arcosanti. His work takes inspiration from living systems and other species to imagine a future that is based on mutualistic relationships instead of extractive economies. In his artwork and curatorial projects, he attempts to help produce a more regenerative, ecozoic world. Well aware of the scale of such an endeavor, Pivnik considers his practice as an opportunity for collaboration. Pivnik has been an artist in residence at Biosphere 2 (2017), Atlantic Center for the Arts (2021), and Deering Estate (2022).

In 2017, Pivnik started the Institute of Queer Ecology, a collaborative organism that works to imagine and realize an equitable multispecies future. IQECO builds on the framework of Queer Ecology, an adaptive practice concerned with interconnectivity, intimacy, and interspecies relationality. To date, IQECO has worked with over 125 different artists to present interdisciplinary programming that oscillates between curating exhibitions and directly producing artworks/projects. 

Three project advisors will provide oversight and guidance, during monthly meetings that serve as opportunities for critique, reflection, and growth.  

Alizé Carrère is a Miami-based climate researcher, filmmaker, and National Geographic Fellow. Her newest film series, Adaptation, launched on PBS in September 2021, documenting her ongoing research into how humans adapt to changing physical environments.

Reverend Houston R. Cypress is a two-spirit poet, artist, and activist. Through his organization, Love the Everglades Movement, Houston has become a major force within Miccosukee society as an advocate for cultural preservation, environmental protection, business development, and sovereignty.

Troy Conrad Therrien served as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's Head Curator of Architecture and Digital Initiatives from 2014-2021, during which he organized Countryside, The Future. As a professor, Troy’s seminars and studios focus on architecture, deep history, magic, and animism.