San Francisco-based Iwamoto Scott Architecture and Dutch team van Bergen Kolpa Architecten presented futuristic city scenarios to an audience at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) San Francisco. The architects’ forward-thinking concepts address 21st century challenges like food shortages and climate change. IwamotoScott’s “fog flowers” would harvest San Francisco’s famed fog as part of a “Hydro Net” for the region, and van Bergen Kolpa’s “Park Supermarket” would integrate food production right into the urban fabric of a Dutch city park.
IwamotoScott and van Bergen Kolpa are featured in the “Architecture of Consequence” exhibit currently at AIA San Francisco – an ongoing global project demonstrating the impact that designers and architects can have on sustainability.
“Hydro Net: City of the Future” – originally covered by Inhabitat in 2008 – re-imagines the San Francisco peninsula one hundred years in the future. With water resources in California already under extreme pressure, the possibility of increased climactic changes in the future sets the stage for IwamotoScott’s innovative plan. Originally created for the History Channel’s “City of the Future” contest, “Hydro Net” was the competition’s grand prize winner. The “Hydro-Net” project seeks to address the challenges of increasing population and dwindling resources by creating a new infrastructure network to distribute and create energy, water, and transportation. A comprehensive vision, the plan includes everything from hydrogen-fuel hover cars and algae producing ponds to collection and distribution mechanisms.
IwamotoScott’s concept includes sinuously twisting towers that perform a dual function: they offer high density housing while also providing space for algae aquaculture. As the economic and ecological costs of piping in San Francisco’s water and energy increase, tapping into geothermal energy and groundwater reserves will become a natural part of the “Hydro Net”. San Francisco’s famous fog provides another potential source of water, with the architects’ “fog flowers” poised to collect condensation and funnel the precious freshwater into the city’s infrastructure.
Van Bergen Kolpa’s “Park Supermarket” addresses the combined problems of land use, climate change, and food production in the low-lying Netherlands. Utilizing the age-old landscaping technology of polders (reclaimed land bordered by dikes), the architects envision growing everything from cattle to orchards inside of metropolitan Dutch parks. Polders represent the history of food production in the Netherlands, but they are under increasing stress from urbanization and rising water levels. The architects imagine a future where urban parks are used for food production of every variety – with van Bergen Kolpa’s special interest in human interaction with the environment, they made sure to include foods that would satisfy the appetites of the multinational population of the Randstad region.
van Bergen Kolpa demonstrates how different landscapes and temperate zones could be created using soil, canals and greenhouses – enabling the production of tropical fruit like kiwi. In pursuit of sustainability, new and traditional technologies merge to create innovative systems such as heat-retaining walls for fruit production. The “Park Supermarket” would not only re-create the traditional park landscape while enhancing local food production, but would also provide a great learning opportunity.
The “Architecture of Consequence” exhibit, including these projects and many more, is on exhibit through October 21 at the AIA SF.