ARCH 8020: Hedonistic Ecologies: Strategies for Good Clean Fun
Hedonistic Ecologies: Strategies for Good Clean Fun
While architecture often produces ecologies, it is not often produced by ecologies. What would happen if we allowed this idea to drive and dictate architectural design? The intersection and overlapping of forms (geometry) or function (program) would then become merely the manifestation of existing and inserted relationships between processes. The resulting architecture would act not as a mere figure, but as a machine, a conduit regulating relationships, feeding off of them and producing new ones.
This project is a place-driven, process-driven machine, and a representation of what ecological design can produce. It takes as its starting point the relationships between the underutilized and polluted water of the James River, the citizens of Richmond, the abandoned industrial landscape, the site’s discrete barley storage/shipping industry, and the floodwall. They are related by proximity, but also through process. For example, the citizens dirty the river, the river threatens to flood the citizens, the citizens desire to play in the river but pollutants in the river are harmful and kill plant and animal species, which, in turn, effects the environment and food chain of the citizens, and so on. The machine begins here. Starting with these inputs, it adds layers. In this case, wetlands, mussels & ultraviolet lights clean the water. Paths connect the citizens to the cleaned water. Fish are cultivated to feed the citizens and birds. Peat is produced to smoke the barley. Slowly, the machine is being formed into a more robust and valuable one, and from these overlapping ecologies, an architecture grows.
And the outcome is a pleasure machine. By feeding the initial ecologies a proscribed and diet, it is able to take the existing relationships and restructure them into new, delightful ones. In this case, a distillery and a poolhouse. This is the trick of ecological design. While sustainability often deploys the language of ascetism, hedonistic ecology can responsibly capitalize on overlapping processes, finding unforeseen relationships, generating new ones, and calling it fun.