Habitat 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”. Considering that safe and stable shelter is the cornerstone of all other basic needs, Habitat will reconceive of the home as a potential site for climate care, yielding a living earthwork that functions as a regenerative shelter and center for interdisciplinary art and ecology research in South Dade.

Miami is an increasingly precarious city that faces compounding crises of climate vulnerability, housing insecurity, and income inequality. 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.

To begin conceptualizing how to continue inhabiting a city on the front line of climate change, I am focusing my practice on the research and development of “Habitat” a multi-use space for multi-species survival. Habitat will be the first test-ground for ecological architecture in South-Dade, where I grew up and continue to live. The project will incorporate living building materials like mycelium bricks and Florida Strangler Fig trees that take decades to mature. Engaged with futurity, Habitat will become my lifework.

In 2022, I will experiment with biomorphic design principles, regenerative agriculture, and carbon-sequestration with the intention of developing a new vernacular architecture for Miami that adapts to future climate conditions. “Vernacular architecture” describes a type of regional building style that uses local materials, and feels unique to a place, helping define its identity. This research will be collaborative: interwoven with public workshops, community feedback, and fieldwork.

Year two will be spent transforming that research into actionable steps towards 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.


Habitat is generously supported by a 2021 Knight Arts Challenge Grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.