Thursday, May 12, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Parc. Bench is essentially a green parcel in the urban environment, potentially as small as a single tile in the sidewalk. Surrounding and enclosing the parcel is an object that is basically a piece of urban furniture; together they serve to nurture and protect both the human life in the city and the plant life contained within.
In its normal state, the object serves as a neutral protector, both of the plant life within and the people outside. The arms open and adjust themselves to nurture the plants, while still shielding them from their surroundings. Light sensors tell the object when to provide shade where it's needed. The gentle movement of the arms creates a sense of urban vibrancy, attracting people and letting them know that the area is safe.
When proximity sensors detect someone approaching, the object closes its arms, enclosing the plants and providing comfortable seating for pedestrians. When they leave, it opens again, ensuring that the green parcel is not suffocated by the urban life it is meant to protect.
Particulate, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and radiation sensors constantly monitor the quality of the nearby environment; when the surroundings become unsafe, the arms open completely in every direction, creating a zone around the parcel that people can not enter and signaling to people that they're in danger. The arms remain open until the environment becomes safe to enter; if the environment remains unsafe for people over a long period, the plants begin to grow and spread along the arms, essentially enlarging the green parcel in the process.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Everyday in the city we are exposed to invisible pollution. As the concrete jungle expands ever onward into the suburbs, our opportunities for this pollution to be nullified slowly disappear. The delicate balance is quickly ceasing to be.
This project is halfway between a lesson and a solution. It senses the solution we do not see and demands attention, showing us the harm we do ourselves by simply walking ourselves or our children down the street.
At the same time an object that warns is no match for indifference, so it acts upon its acquired data. There are two states of this project 1) urban furniture, and 2) a garden. It can be one or the other depending on which holds the greatest importance in the environment in which it is placed.
In an environment with little co2 measured, it is a stool. Sitting along the sidewalk for people waiting for the bus or weary from their city stroll.
In an environment with much co2 it is a garden; taking advantage of the co2 to feed its plants which sit below the machine. When it opens out and allows the garden, the plants prosper. When it is closed as a stool the plants sit dormant; their growth stunted by the few nutrients and little sun. Like grass growing beneath a rock; the plants would be albino and small.
Every hour the decision is made, open or closed? Light or shade? seat or obstacle? All along the sidewalk they sit. Closed and respectful or open and expanded, taking up sidewalk space to nurture their inhabitants and to save those who grumble as they walk around.
Would you grumble? Yes it's in your way, but because it's in your way that means the air you breathe is toxic, and its trying to help. So maybe you stop mid-grumble and decide to write to your senator, or go to the beach this weekend, or boycott the factory down the road.
Imagine them, in LA, sprawling out on the sidewalks with all sorts of plants growing feet high and birds visiting, because the structure never closes. Or in San Diego, with the ocean breeze howling around the barren robots, posed to seat you at your whim. Maybe you would never know what they would be otherwise.
The city would change because it needed to change, and that active response would point out to us that we need to change too.