The urban space station is a project taking aim at local environmental health, one building at a time. Described by the designers as "parasite architecture," the semi-permanent structure sits atop any roof as it filters air, grows food, and re-uses organic waste for inhabitants.
Some key positive elements raised in the video include:
- Mobility, the space station can be dropped into place or built on site
- Human scale construction methods
- Food production
- Indoor air quality improvement
- Uniquely "prescribed" to the needs and wants of the building to which it is applied
Continuing the dialogue about sustainable architecture is as equally important as the construction itself. Some issues the designers raise in the video include: open architecture, local environmental health, and altruism. There is a very interesting relationship between the three ideas, and one that is probably behind many, if not all green initiatives.
The space station team will provide open source plans to build a profitable mini eco-system, which will in turn improve the environmental health for all those involved, while being a catalyst for urban/societal lifestyle changes. The quest to improve ones' health (and bank account), will ultimately improve the health of those around him/her. A novel concept indeed. However, when it comes down to the bottom line, will it be the business or the individuals that ultimately benefit?
While the feasibility a system like this that actually works well is very low, this concept does have some relevance to the green building community. Perhaps above all, the urban space station is important as a built experiment. Designer Natalie Jeremijenko states: "It's most important function [is] as an icon for future possibilities." It is a creative attempt to push the boundaries of urban design, and to continue the conversation around sustainable living solutions. As the green movement matures, it is critical to continually produce new concepts to challenge the ways of the past, and to ensure that the movement is more than a media-driven fad. Let's keep the ideas coming …
Photo credits: Cesar Harada.