Population increase and global warming – two of the planet’s most critical threats.
While the effects of these may still seem minimal to the fortunate few, some have it the worst. Coastal communities: caught in the crossfire between the scarcity of land and resources, and the rising tides and storm surges brought about by the sea. Forced to live in the most volatile conditions, these communities are in dire need of safe and sustainable shelters, creating room for an innovative solution bringing architecture and the sea together. With “blue as the new green” as its design philosophy, Currents for Currents is a housing solution to both the vulnerability of coastal communities to harsh natural calamities and the lack of reliable power infrastructure in these far-flung areas.
With resilience as one of the primary concerns, the structures were designed with as much flexibility as possible to adapt to the sea’s ever-changing conditions The heart of the project, however, lies in the way it has been designed to use their unique at-sea context to their operational advantage. The houses are powered by both tidal and solar energy harvested by technology incorporated within the units themselves, thus rendering the entire community to be completely off-the-grid and self-sufficient.
These power harvesting systems not only provide each unit with a sustainable primary source of power but also a means of livelihood and source of income in electricity farming for nearby inland communities. Although originally set in the Philippine context, the modular design of these houses, as well as the use of universally available material for its main structural frame – molded plastic – allows for their ease in construction in practically any coastal site around the world.
The project aims to introduce an architectural design that creates a self-sustaining community that can provide power for itself while preserving its unique values. This will promote a viable way of coastal housing. It will also create a housing design that can address the threats posed by rising levels. Tidal wave generators will serve as a multi-functional version of modern houses on stilts. Instead of displacing the community to give rise to these structures, the idea is to create interdependence between them. The project will provide a design solution that is inclusive and adaptive.
Through the building of these tidal wave generators, which are normally in clusters similar to windmills, the project will provide a design solution that uses the structure as a foundation. This will expand the generator’s usefulness by becoming the rudimentary groundwork for setting up a community while directly providing electricity as a basic necessity. Moreover, electricity produced by the generators that are not utilized by the community will be passed to a power plant for redistribution to nearby cities. The same concept will apply to the community in the micro sense. Thus, the design philosophy is based in mutualism and interdependence; the philosophy where a relationship exists in a way where each element is beneficial to the other.
Deo Alam, Pierre Michael Monjardin, Andrew Galano
Photography with courtesy of DADA