Designed by Studiomobile, the ‘Networking Nature’ installation is on display until November 25th as part of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012, within the exhibition, “Traces of Century and Future Steps”. Their project is a living machine where it is impossible to see the dividing line between naturalized architecture and artificial organism. It deals with the issue of desalination of seawater and its integration into a Smart Water Network. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Studiomobile explores a future scenario where men are forced to live in an unusual landscape shaped by environmental changes. At present, more than half the world’s population lives and works in a coastal strip 200 kilometers wide, and in the near future sea is expected to characterize even more urban settlements. But not only adaptation is required. Next strategy will be assimilation, an approach characterized by embracing the changing conditions and taking advantage of the resulting opportunities. Frequently, changes perceived as negative open up new possibilities and innovative opportunities. We imagine new communities based on movement, living in flexible, self-sufficient, and nomadic structures. We believe that seawater is poised to become soon a key resource for urban environment.
The ecosystem Networking Nature lives off seawater. Within a glass tank filled with salt water, some solar stills extract fresh water by exploiting the heat produced by small lamps. Seawater evaporates and the steam condenses into fresh water, which is collected in tanks and then supplied. However, water is not produced in isolated systems under central control. The new model provides for a large ecological infrastructure as well as small local production units connected to a network able to integrate the production of fresh water and to supply it where needed. It’s a Smart Water Network controlled by sensors that read the local lack of water and, through an Arduino board, activate the pumps providing the water where there is a peak of demand. The Smart Water Network will be a layer of the ecological network as well as the Smart Power Grid and the communications network. This strategy not only gives response to the preservation of the environment, but it is also a radically new model that ensures free and democratic access to the resources to everybody.
Studiomobile’s installations are working living machines where nature and built landscape live in symbiosis. They suggest a future imaginary where it is impossible to see the dividing line between naturalized architecture and plugged nature and between living machines and artificial organisms. Networking Nature is a laboratory imitating a natural ecosystem including the hydrologic cycle and the process of rainwater formation. In our design, technology aims to be simple, friendly and immediately comprehensible. We believe designers have the responsibility of make people understand how technology works. And to verify in which way technology not only can produce efficient and safe systems, but also can be used for holistic solutions and innovative imaginaries.
Design and Making: Studiomobile
Location: Venice, Italy
Team: Antonio Girardi and Cristiana Favretto
iPad App: DC Solution