If the current US trends of foreclosures and suburban flight continue, one might expect that the suburbs of the future will be desolate, abandoned places. How will we ever recover those large swaths of land and put them back into good use? Enter the CV08, a suburb crushing, land restoring robot designed by Australian architect, and Inhabitat favorite, Andrew Maynard. Its mission is to bring Mother Nature back into the areas left unoccupied thanks to the rising costs of fuel and energy. A provocative, polemical and impossible solution? Sure. But, absolutely awesome at the same time. As part of Critical Visions 08, a conference organized by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in Sydney, Andrew Maynard and six other young up-and-coming architects presented a vision of what the future holds for architects and designers, and the challenges that we will have to face. The visions proposed everything from clearing large swaths of Sydney for creating green spaces, to radically conceptualizing what a city would look like if it only had public transportation, and all points were no more than 30 minutes away from each other.
Andrew Maynard’s caught our eye, because, well, they are effectively giant robots consuming suburbs. Obviously an outlandish vision, and certainly not something that will occur anytime soon. However, just as with any other concept, it is the idea behind it that just makes it pretty darn cool.
When oil ends, and energy is no longer cheap, it’s no longer feasible to have people living in the suburbs. After all, if you cannot get to it, or it is too expensive, no one will want to live there. So the suburbs will essentially become empty, abandoned, and the houses left behind will just be wasted resources left there unexploited and unresolved. A provocative vision, and one that may actually be closer to reality than what we would like to think.
The robot itself is pretty cool. The two front legs crush and process the suburban houses, and turn them into materials ready for recycling (naturally, being giant robots, the compacted materials are fired off in missiles to the recycling plants). The middle and rear-legs slowly but surely terraform the earth left behind. Flora and fauna are brought to the site via these behemoths, and Mother Nature is restored.
Andrew and his team have always impressed us with their design solutions and aesthetics. Now we can certainly add imagination, big ideas, and a good sense of humor to their already impressive list of qualities. For those of you who are living in Sydney, the exhibition is currently running at Customs House. Be sure to visit.