Our latest future focused project is a sanctuary for life and the preservation of life.
Symbolically, these beautiful, glimmering and lush megastructures will be a homage to all life on earth. The circular form, which is a prominent feature for this project aligns itself philosophically to this project which focuses on purity and a common sense of unity for life. This particular megastructure is located close to the river at Battersea Park in London, United Kingdom.
Functionally, these buildings will be dedicated to servicing both the living and the future of life. In terms of preserving the future of life, the main function for the building is to function as an embryo and seed bank, which attempts to preserve genetic diversity as well as the continuation of life on earth, should there be a life ending catastrophy. Retaining genetic diversity for seeds is seen as important to keep a variety of genes on hand with useful features as needed, such as drought or disease resistance. Preserving animal embryos is useful for a number of reasons however the ethics as to what can and should be done with them is controversial and is likely to evolve over time. It is proposed that the animal embryos will be stored in the cavernous zone in the centre of the building, which will have stricter temperature controls. The seed banks will be stored in arched vaults around this. Supporting functions such as labs for research and creation of life will be spread throughout, but mostly located around the perimeter.
The orb, that sits atop this proposed building, is a modern day nod to Noah’s Ark; a way of restarting life on Earth after a life ending catastrophic event. The heat resistant, and extra strong outer shell may become grounded, post event, and remain enclosed until it was deemed safe to open up and restart life on Earth. It is proposed that at least one embryo for each group of species would be stored in the low temperature orb, for future birth and germination. The orb, which sits around the lower layer of clouds has a dual function of collecting water, through condensation. Additionally, water sourced from the city’s polluted waterways is collected through a damn, located adjacent to the tower and river, and then pumped up the tower using hydro-electricity.
WATER PURIFICATION: All collected water is then filtered down through integrated charcoal filters to the ground where it would help to replenish and irrigate the land as well as provide a clean, local water source. We imagine that this would be distributed through public water fountains throughout the city providing free and clean drinking water for all. Note that the dark opaque parts of the crystalline structure above ground are actually filled with charcoal, which is used to purify water.
AIR PURIFICATION: The innermost zone of our building is the lush, planted zone where plants are grown organically in the purest air, with purified water. The air is purified through the high concentration of plants, which absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen and eliminate significant amounts of other pollutants such as benzne, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.
PLANT NUTRITION: The plants will get nutrition from the latest hydrogel technology, a clear film, developed in Japan called Imec. The gel absorbs water and nutrients through its numerous nano-sized pores while blocking germs and viruses.
STRUCTURE: We propose that the crystalline parts of the tower will be built up using solar sintering drones that can solidify sand into glass. Glass would be recycled and crushed to a fine sand, from urban dwellers, and used to create the bulk of the tower. Refer to Markus Kayser’s Solar sinter project: https://vimeo.com/25401444 Humans currently use approximately 200 kilos of glass on average per year.
(More information for our biotechnology and architecture research is available here: http://www.atelieraitken.org/futurelab/city-and-home-design-for-the-future-utilising-biodesign-and-smart-technologies)
ACCESS: Stairs and elevators are a thing of the past, the very thing that allowed skyscrapers to exist in the first place. We imagine all access is by drone pods. Members of the public, in restricted numbers, can fly into the sanctuary (remaining on pods at all times) to breathe in the oxygen rich, purified air for healing and relaxation. Staff can access their various areas on their pods, which are secured using current access technology.
Core Project Team: Jo Aitken, Alice O'Brien-Gortner, Madumal Gunaratna & Sophie Daly.