After the passage of Sandy in New York, the natural disorders that our world is currently facing, and the successful COP21 agreement, climate change should no longer be a debate but a dictate that we shall all acknowledge and follow.
The floods caused by the storm that hit New York made me recall a dream I had this past summer while traveling in Mexico and checking on old architectural projects in Mexico City downtown, a neighborhood still recovering from the 1985 earthquake.
I was walking in a white and modern open sky structure, built of posts and beams. Like a pergola style but with the distorted touch of Zaha Hadid. When I tipped the wall at the end of this space, I could only follow one long descending stair. There were 3 levels. At each level a person was seated behind a desk. At their back there was a large glass where I could see a disordered room representing a knowledge bank: a library at the 1st level, a history archive at the 2nd and a visual and performing arts collection at the last. When I stopped at this level a man handed me a film in which I was a character.
At the end of these stairs, I opened a glass door that led directly into the city. A city made of water. No sidewalks, no streets, only water, water everywhere. Between the city skyline, people were swimming or driving boats to displace themselves. I immerged into the water and started to swim without knowing where I was going. I recall a lifeguard posted on top of a flying chair suspended by a big umbrella with a basic motor allowing it to fly around. He was giving directions through a loudspeaker.
This dream was odd although it’s not my purpose to analyze it. However it made me immediately think of the urban history and development of Mexico City. A lake surrounded by volcanoes, which then became the glorious Tenochtitlan, the Aztecs Capital made of green canals, before turning into a frenetic sea of concrete, the actual “city with no limits”.
And it also made me think of the 1999 movie peut-être from the French director Cédric Klapish, a futuristic vision of Paris submerged in sand dunes in which life happens at the level of the famous roofs covered with zinc.
Being an architect, sustainability is a core device of our profession in response to climate change. In this sense, it surprises me to see that architects still need to specify the use of green technologies and sustainability in order to promote their work. Is there any other option? Should we now become risk and disaster recovery constructors?