Brilliant new advert at the moment for VW’s new Tiguan. But not because of the product, instead the brilliance of the CG urban landscape. Basically the city morphs, storeys of buildings rotate, pavement stones rearrange themselves, levels detach and reattach… It’s crazy metabolism gone mad. But just imagine how amazing it could be if there was such a level of flux in the real city environment. Natural environments are constantly in a period of change – cycles of seasons, erosion and so on. The city’s normally a fixed state, with solid add ons or demolitions – the (relatively) slow changes brought about by construction crews. But what if buildings could be made to interact with their environments a little more…dynamically?
Obviously a rotating apartment block would raise many a problem, but think about it. What if that rotation was a lot slower (i.e. tower observation desks) but allowed for equal sunlight to all sides of a building – that would potentially make solar energy production and urban farming a lot more successful, and allow everyone to see the nicest view and get a bit of sunlight. There would no longer be an extra cost for a south facing view.
Shifting windows and photo-voltaic panels would follow the sun round buildings, bringing the optimum light into buildings and generating the greatest amount of energy. Windows might move forward, pulling out of the building to catch those last rays of sunlight, or to provide a shelter from the rain when sensors detect the threat of precipitation. Building could be taught to sense, and adapt their form as required. What if roads changed to walkways as pedestrians approached them? Or drains appeared and disappeared as necessary?
And such buildings could react to more than just environmental factors. A child is born, a new module attaches itself, the whole building rearranges to suit the family’s needs a little better. If most residents are 9-5 workers then the building adapts depending on when it is “needed”. Balconies might retract for better safety. Health and Safety could relax: no more worrying about dangerous building and furniture layouts – the structure itself will do the work for you. Someone breaks a leg, their apartment moves down 5 floors.