Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Floating Cities of the Future?

I don't recommend assignments like "Design a Fantasy City" as part of a design education curriculum. These projects often turn out to be more self-expressive exercises closer to fine art than design activities that meet real user needs, material and structural realities, and all the other factors that need to be taken into account in design.

There is a point, at the beginning of the design process, where designers let their imaginations run wild in order to open up possibilities for the most innovative and creative solutions. If the process stops there, however, it results in work that is more related to fine art (personal self-expression) than design (functional design to meet a need.)

Students need to learn that using your creativity to solve real problems can be incredibly fun and challenging. Design is as imaginative and creative - because of the inherent challenges of the practical and user requirements - as purely personal self-exploration and self-expression,

LILYPAD (above) is a real-life, design concept for floating cities of the future that satisfy anyone's need for wild imagination while fulfilling design requirements such as usability, sustainability, and structural practicality. Click on the heading above to see a full story on an excellent site called Archinect.

LILYPAD is a true amphibian - half aquatic and half terrestrial city - able to accommodate 50,000 inhabitants and inviting the biodiversity to develop its fauna and flora around a central lagoon of soft water collecting and purifying the rain waters. This artificial lagoon is entirely immersed, ballasting the city. It enables inhabitants to live in the heart of the sub aquatic depths. The multi functional program is based on three marinas and three mountains dedicated to work, shopping and entertainment. The whole set is covered by a stratum of planted housing in suspended gardens and crossed by a network of streets and alleyways with organic outline. The goal is to create a harmonious coexistence of humans and nature, exploring new modes of cross-cultural aquatic living.

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