Architect Vicente Guallart has won the international competition promoted in the new area of Xiong’an, near Beijing, with a project that defines a new standard for residential buildings and a self-sufficient city model in the post-Covid-19 era. The good news is, it can be applied worldwide.
“We can no longer continue designing cities and buildings as if nothing had happened. In recent times, global-scale phenomena are occurring that force us to rethink everything. Our proposals are born out of the need to provide solutions to the various crises that our planet is experiencing”.
– Vicente Guallart –
Growing numbers of people live in cities and are increasingly connected, but only productive societies will be able to decide their future.
In his book The Self-Sufficient City, Barcelona-based architect Vicente Guallart says that the Internet has changed our lives, but it hasn’t changed our cities yet. We see that we live differently and use technologies in a new way, but how cities work with the idea of fabrications, the way we produce food, or the way we recycle materials. We are waiting to see the technologies that will transform our cities.
He sees the city of the future as multi-scalable because the future city will be a network of cities. We will all be connected, and this implies that we will live in different places at the same time somehow. The city of the future is a metropolis of neighborhoods. Self-sufficiency is a movement we see also in the fields of community gardening or intergenerational living and a major trend to watch.
What makes a ‘home of the future?
1// Self-sufficient buildings generate their own food and energy with greenhouses for growing food, large sloping roofs covered in solar panels
2// They have spaces for teleworking, laboratories, and 3D printers prepared to generate masks and other utensils (rapid prototyping machines can make replacements for missing or broken items in supply chain disruptions).
3// The residences are based on the circular economy (reuse of waste plays a keyrole) and are sustainable as they are designed with a wooden structure; thus they define a new standard in ecology and functionality.
The future is not having a rich center and a poor periphery, but a self-sufficient city model in which many neighborhoods are empowered and have the right facilities to produce nearly everything in times of health, energy, or food crisis.
Hydroponic farming and LED grow lights systems provide facilities for indoor farming protected in the event of a natural crisis. Also, green roofs, public gardens, and orchards stimulate biodiversity, and further welcome nature into the city where birds find a birdbox and shelves at each apartment to nest in.
“The challenge for cities in the 21st century is becoming productive again. Now, more than ever, our self-sufficiency needs to be connected and global.”
– Vicente Guallart –