The most recent post this past Wednesday on BLDGBLOG is a thesis project titled “Tar Creek Supergrid”. The architectural project proposes building a massive frame structure above the ground that addresses environmental systems through its network of interconnected piers. I think a project such as this is interesting to systems thinkers because of its priority to re-mediate environmental systems and the strategy from which it attempts to do this. The blog post can be found at (http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/tar-creek-supergrid.html).
The strategy has three levels of program. The top most level addresses photovoltaic energy and rainwater collection. Human in-habitation and movement take place on the middle layer. Lastly, programs aimed towards remediation of the soil and water take place on the ground level.
I think that the thoughtfulness put into creating such a comprehensive solution for the environmental systems of this site is really beautiful, almost utopian-like. I’ll also add in that the concrete structure would be built by using leftover rock piles from abandoned mines.
However, I think that the BLDGBLOG author started to get at a really good point. He says “It’s a bit of a Swiss Army knife—in the sense that it tries to solve everything and have a solution for every possible challenge”. He goes on to say that the project authors focused too much on describing their solutions to the environmental problems and not enough on the architecture. I strongly disagree, however his observation did point out that this project has designed an extremely complex and interconnected network of systems aimed at solving the environmental problems. Most importantly, the project implements a single solution for each environmental aspect, and each solution is not necessarily resilient or flexible. The whole system of the project seems extremely…brittle (non-resilient).
I can’t help but think what would happen to the system due to weathering over time, structural damage from a natural disaster, or changes in the environment. Would this master plan super structure be able to maintain the effectiveness of its systems or adapt them?
On a similar train of thought, this project reminds me of our current infrastructure. The project is so precisely thought out and the structure of its systems so interdependent that the system leaves little room for change. I think this is quite similar to the current infrastructure which has penetrated and connected itself to so many different systems (resulting in in-numerous consequences when changed) that we have become unwilling and afraid to attempt to change it. This project proposes to set up the same inflexibility and delicateness of our current infrastructure.