Future Architecture explores Ljubljana’s Marshes

Future Architecture explores Ljubljana’s Marshes

Future Architecture participants tackle the relationship between water and built environment by developing artistic and architectural scenarios according to a mindset shifted towards a new societal paradigm – one that proposes a radical co-existence with nature without denying the prospects for economic and technological development.

The “Floating Life” project involves the transformation of the existing dried-out wetlands into active system of livable and navigable basins thanks to an innovative urban development. This new systemic strategy will take shape along the river Ljubljanica; a symbolic place that recalls the dawn of the primordial communities.

The urban model of “Floating Life” is characterized by a technological grid defining the digital flows from one point of the community to another: an interface that allows the self-sufficiency of the platforms and a digital information sharing network. Above this grid are placed amphibious-hybrid buildings characterized by a system of floating platforms connected to a central tank, becoming the technological heart of the whole system and providing pure and drinkable water for everyone.

Physical connections are guaranteed by floating common spaces like cyclable paths and pedestrian terraces located between the water and the platforms, designed not just as places for socializing but also to observe nature and biodiversity.

The “Floating Life” project does not presume to impose itself as a traditional urban project but wants to start a dialogue for activating ideas and reflections. Indeed, it does not try to manipulate nature. The project aims to support it using smart buildings and active landscapes able to adapt to different conditions of the natural environment.

SET believes in an essential architecture based on simplicity as a response to the complexity of the functional program. SET has won several awards, including the Dedalo Minosse and NIB New Italian Blood award, and was selected for the BigMat’17, Architizer A+, Archdaily, Building of the year. The office has lectured at various universities and cultural events, including the University of Florence, Polytechnic School of Palermo, University of Roma Tre, Biennial of Public Space, and the New Generations Festival.

Phi is a project-based collective which main focus is on prototyping solutions for accelerating energy transition putting citizens in the centre of the decision making process. With their works, Phi invites to think about how current socio-economic systems could be tweaked to answer the challenges posed by Anthropocene in a more meaningful way at both global and local scales. For the Living with Water exhibition, Phi extends their concerns to water resources speculating on an alternative socioeconomic organization of the Barje area in Ljubljana.

In Barje, water presents a paradox of being an important resource but also it is a threat that can cause impactful damage and even death during the floods. Therefore, an important question is how to find a way to both take care of drinking water and coexist with the natural hazards. To answer this question, Phi proposes a digital jurisdiction to encourage the residents of Barje to become more active in their water management achieving a peaceful neighbourship with water. This conceptual framework will be materialized in a simulation environment to investigate possible scenarios for the future development of Barje. With their work, Phi invites the visitors to think about the definition of sustainability and decentralization and what social, economic and political reaction these concepts might lead to. Watch the video>>

PHI COLLECTIVE founders participated in an interdisciplinary think tank at the Strelka Institute in Moscow. So far, Phi have developed a proof-of-concept web simulation environment (phi.zone) based on the remote Russian community of Ust-Karsk, which was intended to help people in Russia imagine new ways of dealing with energy. Their goal is to establish Phi as a social enterprise, to and build a test case that can be scaled to other remote off-grid communities.

Maite Borjabad Lopez–Pastor
International waters, swamps, flood zones, body fluids, hygienic processes, liquid dreams, pools, sewage systems. All bodies of water. All wet concepts. All subjects of regulation. All written laws. All power systems. All political and social tools. All equally natural and cultural matters. All wet protocols.

This ongoing project seeks to challenge our understanding of the ways in which water has been and continues to be the subject of regulations and political agreements through multiple forms and mechanisms, and how various modes of cohabitation with water can materialize. The project is consolidated as an amphibious glossary that brings together a vast pool of concepts that span multiscaled lenses, from the scale of the physical body to an infrastructural one; from cultures and histories of people living in intimate proximity with bodies of water to legal and health narratives related to processes of urban hygiene and sanitation. This juxtaposition covers a vast territory of terms, protocols, concepts and ideas that suggest new interpretations of and approaches to the way we envision ways of negotiating cohabitation scenarios with water, while maintaining the claim that water is both a natural as well as a cultural asset. Watch the video>>

Maite is a Spanish architect, researcher and curator working in Chicago and New York. She is currently the Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago. Previously, she worked at the Metropolitan Museum, and the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, and has developed projects at the Emily Harvey Foundation, the New Museum Incubator (NY) and La Casa Encendida (Madrid) among others. Her work revolves around architecture, art, politics and diverse forms of critical spatial practices.

Inhabiting the human body is a research exercise which tries to understand how close and determinant is an individual to an entire city and vice-versa. Looking at the city as a human organism, analysing its cooperative behaviour between organs and comparing it to the human body we can find many similarities. Understanding an organism as a system composed of organs we can imagine the human body as an organic component of the city but also the opposite, the city working as an extension organ of our bodies. Considering both organisms compositions and the continuity between both, cancel any possible scale distinction.

In this way, water is also scales in our agenda, we will shift from body to city and from city to dwelling a find how water runs through our organs and veins.

1–We will design the human city and house of Ljubljana attributing its main and determinant organs following the logic of water circuit (source, supply, consumption, refusal, and treatment). Here we will question whether the course of water and its destiny fit within the human system and vice-versa again.

2–And we will build a 1-1 prototype of human/dwelling body section showing similarities of both human and dwelling construction components and materials. These materials will be collected during our tours and will be used as a blown up scale of human body fraction.

Skrei is a design, construction and artistic production workshop that brings together different construction professionals in an integrated professional practice so as to challenge the traditional role of architecture, and to use it as a motor for effective engagement and positive change. By combining different areas into a single professional practice, Skrei drives new ways of designing, new ways of building, and explores and develops models for a healthier, more equitable and responsive environment.

As an essential part of human survival, water has always been an integral part cultures around the world. This is heavily reflected in design, in its various forms spanning from a banal cup to a city-scale riverside development. Water as a primary necessity captured the imagination and touched the human sensitivity, until it turned into tales, myths, processions, memories, rituals, beliefs, fears, demystification, waste, currency. The cultural attitude towards water, as any other resource, is reflected through human creations. Be it a masterplan that treats it as a mere obedient element, to a constitutional law that recognises its crucial importance to human life, spaces of habitation are inevitably shaped by systems of water supply and disposal. Subjective experiences and interactions complete a complex picture.

The project “Hydrotopia” explores various attitudes towards water reflected in subjective spatial experiences. Mapping an intuitive understanding of living with water, “Hydrotopia” places focus on the experiential qualities of inhabited environments, showcasing five different outlooks that vary from water regarded as a mysterious substance, to one where it is completely demystified. Is there a way to view water in a respectful and mutually beneficial manner? How would the human environment be designed in that instance? Watch the video>>

Miruna Dunu is a Romanian-born visual designer with a background in architecture. She graduated with a BA in Architecture with First Class Honours from the University of Manchester, UK, and a Master of Arts in Information Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven, Netherlands. She has worked in architecture and in theatre, with both fields greatly influencing her work. She expressed her particular passion for space and visuality through her first film “Coastland”.

More in the exhibition publication>>

About Future Architecture>>

Skip to content