The invisible architecture of the anthropocene
Since the ‘Great Acceleration’ of the 1950s, man has moved more soil and mineral than all earth systems combined. Human beings are the predominant force affecting change at a planetary scale.
The good news is that we are perhaps the first generation of humans to have the scientific data to be informed that we are undermining the resilience and stability of life on this planet, and we are also the first generation of humans to process the computational capability to design to mitigate these risks. We are now perhaps in the most critical and exciting phase of human existence- a time when the choices we make will decide the longevity of mankind on this planet. How do we begin to empower architecture with the modern resources that technology has afforded to us- big data, advanced evolutionary design, low cost consumer level fabrication, open source sharing.
How can we respond to land, not as another inanimate stretch of ground, but as something that is speaking to you , that is relating to you, and is receptive of your impetuous ideas of living.
Can our buildings start to house more than humans, can migrating birds be invited to perch on our roofs, can apiaries be a feature of every home, can our homes produce more water than they consume.
All this and more is within the scope of knowledge we possess today, not as individuals but as a collective species. This new face of architecture will define the direction that the ‘Antropocene’ takes and that will ultimately define the condition and quality of life in the years to come. On our road to sustainability we first need to learn to be insivible to our impact on land, acknowledge the position of anthropogenic actions on the planet and mitigate the effects on other species of plants, animals and natural resources.
This idea explores the modern tools available to architecture and design in an effort to create an openly shared framework for sustainable residential housing that leverages DIGITAL DESIGN and DIGITAL FABRICATION to respond to environmental DATA. For example included as an attachment is a simple code for a foundation design system that reads the topography of a site and allows one to rapidly calculate and fabricate the foundation system to place a structure anywhere on a terrain in such a way that it does not interfere with the natural watershed of the site, thus insuring the continuity of the watershed to all the downstream micro eco systems that flourish around it.
The parametric nature of the programs developed for the execution of the design in this project will be versatile and customisable enough to be applied to any site or project by changing the input parameters of the program such as geographic location, site topography etc. The project will show that there is great potential in this system of data driven computational architectural design to achieve optimised sustainable design that is affordable, accessible and easy to fabricate.
Since a lot of the tools used are open source and do not require special skills to run, the programs can potentially be adopted at the consumer level thus widening the influence of sustainable design solutions.
This journey is not about architecture as we know it, this is not just about services and the prosaic needs of water and energy management. This is more about a central philosophy of creating a heightened sense of cultivated being, in tandem with your ecosystem and all that it encompasses.