Cripe Capstone Competition
At the micro scale, architecture has limited influences on major social issues. Questioning the notion of an architect and the inherent social responsibilities leads to the realization of our limitations. Architects cannot solve the issue at hand, however they do have the tools to make a difference. Considering projects at the macro scale provides opportunity to discover the overlap between social issues and architectural design.
The research begins by analyzing dystopian and utopian societies, both real and theoretical. Understanding how these projects succeed and fail and comparing them to the current situation in the Coachella Valley helps derive a set of principles for facilitating a societal growth.
Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong includes no formal architecture, but organically developed into a functioning society. Kowloon, and many other slums, are efficient in nature but fall short in essential infrastructure capacities, such as sanitation, water, electricity, etc. Creating an overly rigid infrastructure tends to dictate urban form and deter from the organic growth.
The United States government recognizes a large population of the area as illegal immigrants. This population contributes to the agrarian economy, but does not gain proportional benefits due to their illegal status. Exploring this disparity is necessary for developing a mutually beneficial population not determined by resident status.
Determined by this research, a series of parameters guide the growth of the society. They include permanence, governance, connectivity, and hierarchy.
Having a nomadic lifestyle results in an absence of a sense of permanence. It discourages social and material investment within the fabric of the urban environment and diminishes genus loci. Establishing permanence encourages investment by
the people and leads to a generational amelioration for the situation. The migratory worker population currently treats living situations as temporary, due to the nature of the work.
Being a disenfranchised subsociety grants special opportunity of operating outside of a bureaucratic realm. The bureaucratic process hinders a dynamic response required, to resolve issues of a society in constant flux. A new reactionary and flexible form of government aids in decentralization, eroding bureaucracy. As needed referendums and elections become popular for such societies, rather than the existing electoral system that hinders dynamic growth.
The more connected a society, the more it can share resources that benefit the society as a whole. Physical connectivity enables evolution of the society. This is designed as a continuum rather than a stagnant infrastructure so it can constantly adapt and improve over time. Keeping information local and within the community itself creates a hyper-regional network of communication, referred to as an “intranet.” This allows a regional development without relying on external resources.
Creating a industrial hierarchy leads to the development of mutually beneficial primary, secondary, and tertiary industries. Decentralizing industry makes the society less vulnerable to failure due to external influences/pressures. The society becomes holistically self-sufficient by extracting, producing, servicing, and consuming, creating a diverse growth of jobs not based on seasonal needs.
Viewing ourselves as enzymes rather than catalysts propagates societal growth. With the goal of fostering efficient growth, we developed a set of design decisions. Not imposing a rigid development framework for the architecture allows the society to determine its own form. As tools encourage efficient growth, the architecture becomes adaptive to the society in its current situation plus what it will become in the future.
Surrendering control of the architecture fosters a new sense of ownership.
Avoiding a top-down approach creates an intranet of shared information within the region. Input information helps inform the user as well as gaining data that helps the greater good. Open sourced information has proven to be very successful in the way products are developed and evolved between members of a community rather than by outside party.
The purpose of the proposed creature is to suggest and inform rather than dictate the development of this migrant worker society.
The first stage of the creature begins with the exploration and documentation of its assigned region. It records environmental factors such as weather, topography, natural resources, etc. It then analyzes population densities and maps out current land uses and building strategies. It finds what resources and materials are available, where the people come from, and what kind of techniques/knowledge the people already bring to the area.
During the second stage, it plants itself in a location that becomes most convenient for the people of the area.
During the third stage, the creature begins broadcasting and gaining data from the region to add to its warehouse of information. Texting becomes the medium of communication between the community members and the creature. Cell phones are popular devices that already encourage connectivity between people, so routing queries through the creature’s broadcasting system.
The maintenance of the creature is facilitated due to the analog nature of all of its components along with the information about its functioning open-sourced by other creatures. This reduces the need for a third party that would otherwise be required to correct the problem.