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“Ego to Eco”: The future of communities and natural ecosystems

by Ofentse Sefolo
“Ego to Eco”: The future of communities and natural ecosystems

Titled “Ego to Eco”, the installation of EFFEKT Architects at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, has a unique focus – analysing the future of communities and ecosystems.

Presenting a magical series of seven miniature projects nestled within a fictional landscape, EFFEKT Architects’ exhibition can be viewed at the Corderie dell’Arsenale. “Ego to Eco” is a physical representation of a natural ecosystem, with seven research and design projects created by the architecture firm during the past few years.

Important future questions

The architectural prototypes displayed by EFFEKT embody the firm’s values and explore new, resource-efficient ways of living, building, producing and consuming. The installation provides answers to questions such as “How can we design future communities rooted in the principles of nature?”, by bridging the gap between cities and natural ecosystems, and revitalising the latter for the sake of both humans and other living beings.

The installation is built to create a display with a positive impact, a design and thinking approach applied by EFFEKT in all their projects in recent years. According to the firm, considering the social, environmental and economic aspects of any project can “help address some of the greatest challenges we face as a result of our human existence”.

The selected projects respond to urgent questions such as:

  1. How can buildings work like ecosystems?
  2. Can real estate development enable ecological restoration?
  3. Can architecture help people reconnect with nature?
  4. Can marine food production help revitalise our waterfronts?
  5. How can we provide accommodation that leaves no trace?
  6. How can we live more sustainable, connected and healthy?
  7. Can a closer relationship to nature improve learning?

Exhibition controlled from Copenhagen

A miniature forest of 1 200 tree seedlings is planted in the heart of the installation as a part of the Nature Village project, an urban forestation project in Denmark which is absorbing more than 1 000 tons of CO₂ over 50 years.

The forest will grow throughout the course of the exhibition with the aid of a hydroponic growing system, which is controlled remotely from Copenhagen. Through an ebb-and-flow grow table, the circulating irrigation technology pumps water and nutrients to the roots. All excess water is drained and collected in a tank underneath the grow table. Pressure, humidity and temperature sensors are all connected to a controller box that enables real-time monitoring, providing the plants optimal growing conditions.

This exhibition features one of the most innovative concepts to date and you can read more about it here: www.labiennale.org/en/architecture.

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