To Middle Species, with Love is designed to amplify habitat conditions for urban wildlife in Columbus and bring increased visibility to their presence among us, as co-inhabitants of the built environment. These animals—which we call “Middle Species” in contrast to “flagship” species—are common and embedded in our communities: bats, birds, reptiles. They are neighbors and residents who are active agents in our urban ecosystems and contribute significantly to the health of cities, yet often remain invisible in our imaginations of where we live.
Sited within the landscape of Mill Race Park, Hwang’s installation is conceived of as a series of “strata,” featuring bat and bird habitat conditions above, and environments for terrestrial and amphibious species below. To shift human perception to sense the less-visible world of urban animals, the project provides visitors ways to explore Middle Species sounds—particularly bat echolocation—by using ultrasonic detectors to regularly record bat calls, and make the recordings accessible to visitors—both in-person and through online platforms.
To Middle Species, with Love contributes to the ongoing work in Columbus to enhance biodiversity, and furthers the work of restoring river ecologies and imagining the riverfront as a public space for humans and nonhumans to enjoy.
Mill Race Park
MVVA with structures by Stanley Saitowitz, 1993
Michael Van Valkenburgh and Stanley Saitowitz’s Mill Race Park is located in the floodplain that was the site of the Mooney Tannery in the 19th century and later the area was known as “Death Valley.” The area first became a park in the 1960s. In 1993, landscape architect Van Valkenburgh completed a redesigned park that honored the site’s heritage and ecology while looking to the future. The Round Lake acts as the visual center to the water-dominated composition. Saitowitz designed the architectural elements, including an Observation Tower offering a view of Columbus’ downtown architecture.
Joyce Hwang is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Architecture at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, and the Founder of Ants of the Prairie, an office of architectural practice and research that focuses on confronting contemporary ecological conditions through creative means. She is a recipient of the Architectural League Emerging Voices Award, the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and the MacDowell Fellowship. Hwang received a M.Arch degree from Princeton University and a B.Arch degree from Cornell University, where she was awarded the Charles Goodwin Sands Memorial Bronze Medal.