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Alexa Drumm

Lead Research Assistant

I am a Bachelor of Architecture 2023 candidate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
My undergraduate design work explores land-driven building design in search for a deeper understanding of the relationships between the human and non-human ecosystems set within their native cultures and territories. I share an impassioned curiosity with my colleagues for interdisciplinary research that questions the convergence of landscape design with the underlying scientific research and philosophical grounding. This work transcends the project scale and has not only inspired a continuation in my academic career through a Master of Landscape Architecture degree, but has also challenged me to a standard of ecological cognizance, accountability, and advocacy within all creative pursuits.

I am interested in pharmacognosy in relation to the cultivation of medicinal plants and the designed reinterpretation of the medicinal landscape in an uncertain climate future. A toggle between speculative visuals and theoretical writing composes the workflow within my research on plant humanities. I have explored with my colleagues historical narratives and the evolution of scientific understanding embedded within critical plant-human interactions taking place. Tangentially, I have taken interest in horticultural botany as it fosters a physically intimate and visceral dialect between culture and territory.

Consequently, my undergraduate thesis applies ecosophical inquiry amidst the current shift in architectural representation from the dominantly physical to entirely digital. I aspire to strengthen the relevance of books as a canonical form of narrative-based literature through a xenogenesis of media that is neither radically virtual nor traditional. This intends to sagaciously curate the most compelling elements of conventional storytelling to contribute a potential pipeline for sensible aspects of the printed novella to live on in the digital and more environmentally considerate world. I am interested in using natural aesthetics, specifically the ecological uncanny, as an evaluative tool in designing an ecosophically haunted house that promotes metaphysical inhabitation over the proasic functions of housing. This programmatic reasoning aims to build awareness of the multiplicities and interconnectedness between human and nonhuman existence as we navigate the post-natural world.

Thank you.

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