Competition work for DRAW Architecture + Urban Design
Global warming is an imminent threat to the inhabitants of our planet. In the last decade, glacier loss has tripled and continues to increase at an alarming rate. The melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are annually depositing more than 127 billion tons of ice into the ocean and are raising sea levels half a millimeter every year, according to NASA’s Global Climate Change study. Those rates are projected to surge, leaving little time for much of the world’s vulnerable coastal population to organize climate action responses.
The damaging role of human activity in the progression of climate change has all but ensured the possibility of disastrous flooding. As a result, climate adaptation and mitigation strategies are increasingly becoming a critical focus, if not an entire focus, of the architectural profession. From predicting the manufacturing process on future homes to ruminating on how social architecture will play a vital role in how we adapt, the future of buildings and more specifically homes will demand adaption to climate catastrophe through a tentative connection to the site and fixed infrastructure.
Envisioned through the lens of Positive Impact Design, this project speculated a future wherein, with a decrepit landscape that is no longer structurally or sustainably viable for homes, architecture and its inhabitants have repositioned itself into an aquatic environment. This newfound territory requires the restructuring of the production of power, the collection of rainwater, and the digestion of waste. In the imagined community, the primary structural material used will be plastic, collected from the surrounding oceans, compressed into bricks that are mold and pest resistant. These modular components aggregate into a fixed base module that accommodates program modules for gathering, eating, sleeping, and bathing. Each module is structurally independent and poised on piles, which can be unclipped to move the base to another site. The plastic frame floats, and as water levels rise and recede, the house automatically levels itself with an integrated gyroscopic leveling mechanism to avoid inhabitants feeling the choppiness of the seas. In addition, the interchangeable program modules and the modular system promote future expansion and self-built construction; as family compositions evolve or as whole areas undergo environmental disruption, entirely new communities can be assembled with relative ease.
“A Wandering Home” is a modest way of naming the project since the goal was not to understand or define what home was but rather to keep the existing arrangement of a known habitat in an unknown future.