Architecture Venice Biennale 2014 – Morocco Pavilion FUNDAMENTAL-(ISM)S
Molding Nature to Make Life Possible
Symbiosis between the natural energy and the manipulation of the form Hatching is a machine that produces life through:
- Catching the trade winds at great altitudes
- Water condensation from the clouds
- Protection from the warm winds in the lower parts
- Protection from the sun
- Creating interior freshness
Throughout these elements, a microclimate that makes life possible is generated.
Towards the Concept
In the 20th century many architectural theories considering infinite energy were developed. Concepts like “City of Tomorrow” intended to reform the way people live, to set up the new parameters in the designing process, and to decide what the population need. These ideas often respond to the needs of human life and the desired comfort of living at the moment projected. However, going back to the fundamentals of building, settlements were first created where climatic and geographic conditions were most favourable. The challenge lies in responding to the needs of the population at all times, developing the urban environment sustainably with the possibility to evolve. The aim throughout this study is to explore ways to create an environment that encourages and supports life inside of it, going back to the fundamentals of life, offering what life on earth needed, needs and will need. Using and empowering the forces of nature, an inhabitable area will turn into an oasis, generating a timeless habitat with the ideal conditions for life.
A Liveable Habitat in the Desert
The starting point of reasoning is complicated in such an inhospitable territory as the Sahara’s. It is a place of extremes where the natural rules are defined intensively. The days are hot, often reaching 38°C. During the night the atmosphere cools down quickly because of the lack of insulating cloud cover. The project is based on the appropriation of the inhospitable territory by using the forces of nature, being the fundamentals for life. The exploration of creating a sustainable ecosystem, making the life possible, is done within a fundamental shape in architecture: the cube.
Taking the dimensions of the cubical frame 1Km x 1Km x 1Km, possibilities arise to explore unique qualities of the natural forces in such volume to create a microclimate, inviting life into the inhospitable environment. The abundance of desert sun and the Atlantic Ocean winds at great altitudes then serve as the main energy sources and provide the fundamentals to create a habitable environment, being zero-energy.
- Natural ventilation and humidity will be gained from catching the fresh and humid trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean.
- Northern winds are eroding the structure, making the north side more porous, allowing the humid winds to enter and form dense clouds in the interior. The porous structure hereby filters andextracts the humidity from the clouds. This condensationprocess makes it is possible for vegetation to erupt in the epicentre of the microclimate, creating a circulation of water. Water is also stored in the insulated base of the structure where the water maintains its temperature.
- The insulated base also functions as protection from the lower warm winds.
- As it is that life needs the sun, providing light and shadow, the south side will provide shelter from the sun while at the same time allowing sunrays to come in.
- The numerous small pores and large openings penetrate through the peripheries of the structure. These are the entrances and exits for the complex system of canals and chambers through which the winds can blow providing interior freshness and ventilation.
Using the forces of nature as the design tools to originate a liveable microclimate in the desert, the structure of the “ideal city” was rethought from an entirely different perspective. The project evolves naturally and is shaped by nature. An artificial timeless environment defined by natural rules, functioning like a nest where life can originate; a three-dimensional oasis in the desert that exemplifies the rethinking of the sustainable habitat. Our focus is, at the first step of many, to create the fundament for inviting life into the desert and the possibility for human intervention –the city.