Studies on Ecolomy: Iceland/Dubai

Ecology – from Greek oikos: house + logi: study = the study of livingEconomy – from Greek oikos: house + nemein: to manage = the management of a householdEcolomy – from ecology + economy = the study and management of sustainable livingThe traditional debate on the subject of sustainability is stifled by the common misconception of the natural environment being threatened by the dark forces of capitalism. In other words ecology vs. economy is seen as good vs. evil. Although it is true that economic growth, industrialisation and urban expansion are the main causes of disturbances in the global ecology, it is not because the two are opposites, but rather because our modern cities have been designed without the environment as a parameter. Before the side-effects of the economic processes had revealed themselves, our urban environments, infrastructure and buildings had already been designed without incorporating those concerns. Today ecological design is associated with either a nostalgic longing for the past or a politically correct branding strategy to make your company look good. In both cases it is seen as an expense that you accept out of moralism, nostalgia or political correctness. Today\’s architecture is based on the concept of protecting yourself from the surroundings by using machines e.g. A/C\’s to cool buildings. However, the problem is that we are running out of resources. So to speak, modernistic architecture does not make use of the environment, but rather tries to fight it. This type of architecture has been created to be implemented all around the globe, which makes it lacking \”local intelligence\” -it is not adapted to the specific location, but is rather based on a \”package solution\”. This way the genius loci – a location\’s distinctive atmosphere – is ruined. But economy and ecology are not opposites, but rather two sides of the same issue. The Greek roots of the term mean respectively the management and the study of living. We don\’t believe in environmental initiatives that are so expensive that they can be sustained by the market. And we don\’t believe in business models that are based on draining our natural resources.We want to imagine a new form of city that operates as a double ecosystem that is sustainable both financially and environmentally. We want to design an urban complex that organises all aspects of human life on a given site at a given size, deploying all the mechanisms of both worlds – symbiosis, differentiation, technology, competition etc – to create an infinity wheel of economic and ecological growth.We want to invent a contemporary vernacular architecture that incorporates the climatic problems and potentials with innovations in materials and technology. Eco-laboratoriesOur current cities are complex urban ecosystems, determined by so many variables that intervention becomes difficult and results are blurred by external contamination. We propose to start over – tabula rasa – so we are free from history and the habit of speculating on new forms of human organisation. Although utopian in ambition this approach of imagining a new world from scratch is no longer a mere mind game or theoretical exercise. In fact it is the very concrete challenge of two very similar and very different places on the planet: Iceland and Dubai. Both places have a small native population of less than 300,000 inhabitants. Both places are geographically isolated by the sea or the desert. Both places are from natures side quite unsuited for human occupancy – a sand desert with blazing sun, dry winds and only B B B B B salt water as well as an arctic desert without trees, low temperatures and lots of rain. Both places have become international hubs between different cultures: between the US and Europe, between the East and the