Exaptive Design: Radical Coauthorship as Method is a chapter first published in Rachel Armstrong’s book Experimental Architecture: Designing the Unknown (Routledge 2019). The text interrogates the senseless demolition of the Folk Art Museum in New York City, demonstrating that, paradoxically, it was the value attributed to the project by TWBTA—to the integrity of the architects' intentions—that sanctioned the building’s demise. The notion of exaptation, introduced by Stephen Jay Gould and Elisabeth S. Vrba in a 1982 paper entitled “Exaptation—a missing term in the science of form,” offers an antidote against the authorial obsolescing of objects, and an effective paradigm for articulating suspension in design—for decoupling function and form, value and utility.
A later version of this chapter was published in Ferracina, Simone. Ecologies of Inception: Design Potentials on a Warming Planet. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2022.