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Quotation: Laure Prouvost, If It Was, 2017
Working with a friend for the submission, we wanted to look at the consequences of climate change throughout the world and its effect on new ways of living, answering the competition brief that stated the site could be located anywhere and must house a professional couple.
We chose our site to be set in 2065, 100 years following the Restoring the Quality of Our Environment report. We were strict to avoid any dystopian and apocalyptic scenarios, opting instead for the Earth’s temperature to rise by two degrees. With this figure, world leaders had partially fulfilled their responsibility to curb extreme warming levels. Although not devastating, this would nevertheless affect all aspects of daily life.
The UN estimates that by 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. A further 200 million will become climate refugees, from which we have based our resident couple from the brief. Emigrating from the southern hemisphere, they were to be rehoused by a government scheme to London, which was subject to less extreme weather conditions. Both individuals were professionals working with hydroponic agriculture as an engineer and scientist, and would participate in research and farming in an existing office block in Canary Wharf, reinvented for housing and scientific use.
A central, open-topped atrium would allow the hydroponic plants to be maintained and harvested by the community within the complex. Initial research into this agricultural method has shown it requires up to 80% less land and 90% less water. Stack ventilation inside the building and filtered greywater harvesting would support the agricultural system, where the fresh produce was sold in shops to external parties to provide extra funding for the building community.
Each family would be provided with a unit within the complex, completely refitted with space-efficient furniture. Due to the design brief’s small area constraint, we looked to furnishings that could offer dual-functionality, such as making use of storage in the existing suspended floor construction.
Through our research, it was clear that most material supplies would become obsolete by 2065, with tonnes of unbiodegradable or unharvestable waste left over. We prioritised that any furniture was to be made without the use of glue or adhesives if possible, to increase the possibility the objects’ material can be reused in the future in sharing economy.
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