As humans, base instincts prod us to grow. As recently as two months ago, in Mid-November, the world’s human population struck past the eight-billion mark and will continue to rise steadily, if not exponentially. Due to our widespread practices, nature itself suffers damage from pollution and congestion. However, we do not need to consign ourselves to grisly fates to extinction. Others, in fact, are doing their best to prevent such an outcome.
Molina De Segura lies within the province of Murcia, known for its ‘huertas’, farms used to cultivate vegetables and fruit trees. It is a vital part of their economy and heritage as well as an environmentally friendly option for the production of food for the province. In spite of that, contemporary industrialist practices still scar the land with their far-reaching consequences.
Since the 1980s, the previously vast -yet rural- stretch of Molina De Segura has been under the subjugation of urbanisation. The creation of suburbs and the accompanying housing has caused the alteration of the land’s topography and geography, flattening land to suitable conditions for urbanisation. This leads to the damage and permanent loss of ‘ramblas’, a dry ravine. Streets and roads are fashioned from ravines, which drive away the accompanying flora or fauna whose lifestyle may have heavily relied on the ravine’s natural formations. Ongoing efforts have sought to reverse these effects, namely the one proposed today.
Spearheaded by the Office For Political Innovation, founded by Andrés Jaque, the creation of the ‘Rambla Climate House’ is a wonderful architectural message against the problems and damages caused by over-urbanisation. Created in the shape of an ellipse, the house’s innermost walls are supplanted with windows to observe the varieties of greenery that are encircled within the structure’s architecture. Aside from its intuitive design,the house also contains a deluge of other features that serve purposes beyond just aesthetics.
Automated Plant Rejuvenation
A vital factor in this project are the plants. Without the existence of flora, the entire purpose of the structure falls apart as it fails to deliver the intended message. Even more so, if the flora perishes whilst within the confines of the house. Hence, prevention measures have been put in place. The house is outfitted with the ability to collect pooled rainwater from its roofs as well as residual grey water from the showers and sinks of the houses, repurposed and recycled to act as hydration for plants as well as revitalise any moribund remnants of greenery present in the ‘rambla’. Automated and not reliant on human mandate, this ensures that the plants are kept healthy on a punctual and timely basis.
Furthermore, crowning the elliptical section of the ‘rambla’ is an exposed coil facing the sun, facilitating the creation and availability of passive hot-water for the plants all throughout the year. A fine addition, giving the plants warm reprieve as Molina De Segura’s temperatures can reach the frigid colds of 38°F (Or 3.3°C).
Botanical In The Backyard
The message of the structure is not only adumbrated in its intrinsic cutting-edge upkeep technology, but emphatically represented in the spectacle of the plant-life itself. The house’s slightly elevated position captivates a viewer by giving them a full scope of the encircled flora, facilitating a spellbinding sight for the viewer to behold.
Besides that, it features a marble bench situated just around the elliptical section, lending access to the house’s thermal inertia to cool down should visitors find themselves succumbing to the scorching heat.
As stated by the architect, “– glimpses of its former more-than-human life have rapidly re-emerged after a one year period. Now, brachypodiums, myrtles, mastic trees, fan palms, oleanders, and fire trees grow in the elliptical section. Insects, birds, and lagomorphs find shelter in it.”
This project is a testament to the human ability to repair. It is a prerogative we all share, each to a varying degree. We should attempt to do our part, no matter how small, to mitigate the harm we do to the wildlife around us. Whether it be creating a marvel of architecture or throwing away your waste into the appropriate places, each plays a vital function to ensure the survival of both of our species. Hopefully, the Rambla Climate House heralds a new age, inspiring other creatives to produce works in the name of environmental preservation.
(Images by José Hevia)