Architecture of particles
We are in the middle of an era in which the urbanization of technologies has allowed for the integration of a new urban layer; the species of invisible architecture that are being transmitted emitted absorbed and reflected by the city, that act as the binding medium or the current between these technologies and the built fabric.The aim is to create an urban shield.The architect as an activist makes a public intervention that blocks the mobile and static particulate matter that pervades the city streets while allowing the citizen to experience the naked reality of the atmosphere of the city, the threat and its insecurities.
As poor air quality in London is a long term problem,I decided to create a scenario where the citizen has direct visual access to the city’s pollution and more specifically to N02 through a satellite platform. By using real data of N02 levels for the year 2013-2014 I located the areas where N02 exceeded the acceptable levels given by the EU. I tried to demonstrate a scenario in which the population of Westminster avoids the locations of excessive N02 and over a year forms these urban pockets. While this is a speculative reaction of the citizen, the question asked is what kind of potential is given through this urban re-composition? What could then be done with these urban pocket? What would the role of the architect be in this case?
The excessive invisible activity in the 21st century has given a new definition to the city’s atmosphere. At this point in time, the city has become a strategic space for all kinds of applications on new technologies. Leading computing multinationals such as IBM and CISCO have been developing the infrastructure for the city of the future. They envisage a city with hidden technologies that act without human intervention. They nurture the idea of the unified operational system that clashes with the concepts of privacy and transparency.
How would this affect our behavioural patterns and how would it affect the way we experience the built environment? Would we start building around it? would we try to avoid it? Or would we start redefining the city while being conscious of its existence?
Testing these scenarios in the scale of the neighbourhood and the complexity of the community by revealing the static and mobile invisible species and the densities in which they perform on site.
Usually emf shielding cages are used to keep matter within and conceal it. In this case, it does the opposite as it aims for the creation of space devoid of WiFi, phone signal, or atmospheric pollution.
Urban lobbies are being introduced as the medium between the urban transitions to restrain leakage of electromagnetic fields. The electric current that races around the cage loses its energy with the grounded wires that make it safe to be touched by humans, birds and insects.
It urges unconventional urban activities and rural development of nature while acting as a magnet and recomposing the hierarchy and value of location in the city.
During the day the intervention cage is a public, breathing resistor. Values from the embedded sensors light the hairy skin and translate the excessive values of particles into variations of colour while creating a real time data spectacle appearing at night.
The city dweller becomes aware of his proximity to the contamination, its excessive values, its intrusion, while sensing the interior of the cage. The 21st century citizen is in need of the public space sanctuary.