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Ultimately Urban

Post-Sentient Structures: Aquatic Ecotone

Independent Design Research Studio | 2020
Instructor: Mona El Khafif

In 2009, Mark Shepherd coined the term ‘Sentient City’ which refers to a city “that is able to hear and feel things happening within it yet does not necessarily know anything in particular about them.” Inspired by Shepherd’s concept and an examination of existing responsive architectures, my exploration evolved towards envisioning a potential next generation. Expanding on Shepherd’s ideas, my project imagines a post-sentient being that not only senses, reacts, and communicates, but also enables individual agency. The post-sentient creature addresses problems: it is a hearing, feeling, and acting being.

In translating this concept to a design project, I chose to confront issues concerning the health of the world’s oceans in the Anthropocene. These structures aim to mitigate anthropogenic effects such as eutrophication, surface temperature rise, stratification, pollution, and acidification. My proposal is to create a water infrastructure that will sense issues in its immediate environment and adapt to mitigate concerns. 

These structures will also generate sustainable energy using marine currents, serving as an alternative to oil rigs. The main mechanisms of the structure will be solar panels that move with the sun, turbines to harvest energy from ocean flows as well as microturbines to encourage vertical ocean mixing, limbs to collect pollution, and an air diffusion system to oxygenate water.

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Movement and Encounter

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