suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
paul CHAN: Imagine a future where buildings systematically disintegrate and regenerate into efficient landmasses, where inhabitants would have the ability to build and reuse structural elements as required without harming the environment. Rather than the traditionally linear process of construction, inhabitation, and demolition, re.generation architecture proposes a cyclical synthetic ecology, in which nature and built structure function in harmony.
Years of neglect, pollution, and disconnect between the natural and man-made place our environment on the cusp of self-destruction.
Without such a radical change in building habits as re.generative architecture, society is faced with an imminent retaliation from nature through globally rising water-levels. With the GeoBasin, I propose a new landfill system through a series of self-destructive and regenerative architectural interventions which ultimately create pockets of islands. Through this process, the cityscape and infrastructure which currently contributes to 70% of worldwide pollution will be eliminated, and in its place, an integrated fusion of nature and built form will grow.
This project depicts the evolution of a regenerative structure through a 100-year lifecycle. As it transitions from its original function as
a bathhouse into a semi-vegetated structure, it adopts different programmatic elements. Eventually, these programmatic elements manifest in a stand-alone island that could perpetually mature or reform.
This life cycle can also be recognized as a potential solution for the consistent need for landfills. The current method of landfill simply assumes that land will stay stagnant and unaffected by the high-level of pollution that each landfill produces. The system proposed here creates land through a precisely calculated ecological design system that works collaboratively with nature.
The core of the GeoBasin is embedded with a diverse selection of seeds to implement plant growth. Strong and robust plant species occupy the lower level of the structure, forming the foundational level of the anticipated island, while wild, fast-growing vegetation develops throughout the upper structure to attract a diverse range of wildlife and activities. At the same time, this wild vegetation operates as slow-momentum destructive agents, which encourage the systematic degradation/regeneration of the free-standing structure.
The façade and programmatic pockets are composed of porous filtration membranes that are biodegradable. These membranes will retain pragmatic function for approximately 50-60 years, then slowly dissipate as the plants and wildlife liberate the structure.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
pC: In the summer of 2009, I lived with a family in the remote Mongolian tundra to experience firsthand one the world’s last surviving nomadic cultures. They resided in circular, lightweight wood lattice structures known as yurts which are designed to withstand the extreme forces of the climate, provide each family with a harmonious shared living space, and facilitate the family’s need to migrate seasonally. Moving their home provides each member a meaningful personal connection to their home and environment and, as a result, a great source of shared pride. In stark contrast to contemporary attitudes towards the urban environment and property ownership, the nomads I met possess a direct and immediate understanding and awareness of their environment. This experience has had a profound influence on my architectural design point of view today.
Additionally, my design of this project is influenced by the work of Francois Roche, Terreform ONE and the 2011 exhibition ‘Talk to Me’ at the MOMA as well as feedback from PennDesign critic Annette Fierro.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
pC: Reading: For Our Children and For Ourselves by Juliana Xuan Wang; listening: Sigur Rós (morning) > Chiddy Bang (day) > Die Antwoord (all-nighter); watching: 2046 by Wong Kar Wai.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?.
pC: Junya Ishigami, Obscura Digital, Suppose Design, Leong Leong Architecture, Family NY, WorkAC, Asymptote, DS+R, HWKN, MASS Design Group.
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