Safe House (Closed Worlds)

Competition

2015

Safe House was the entry for Storefront's Closed Worlds Competition and Exhibition. We received an honorable mention for the entry.

The 42nd ‘closed system’ project is a global vault, a safe keep for Architectural Ideas that have the potential to be the seeds for Alternative Worlds. While globalization streamlines the cultural and material practices of architecture ever further, the vault serves as a secure vessel that protects architectural ideas from losing their value and significance. Not unlike the Doomsday Seed Vault in blistery cold Svalbard, Norway, the vessel lands in a place where one would least expect it - the ultimate commerce of Manhattan. "Manhattan is the arena for the terminal stage of western civilisation...," Koolhaas observes in Delirious New York.

The Doomsday Seed Vault is a global safety net, closed off from the world in the case of a "doomsday" scenario and becomes the ultimate ‘closed world’ while paradox- ically storing the entire world in it. It is coined the ‘Noah’s Ark’ for the world’s agriculture and the only way to sustain life if a doomsday scenario arises - i.e. civil strife, war, natural catastrophes, etc. - as "an insurance policy for the world’s food supply." Not unlike Svalbard, Safe House is the ultimate depository of preserving and securing the most significant architectural ideas on the planet.

Similar to the doomsday vault, Safe House is a vessel, embedded in the deep caverns of Storefront Gallery. The scenario is the following: A need for a vault, or a Noah’s Ark, for architectural Ideas. Manhattan is physically drowning but also within another type of climate shift. globalization. The Safe House is it’s own critique on the abundance of global architecture being made in the name of ‘sustainability’ and ‘optimization,’ that consume much of our built world and leave little room for alternative ideas and technology to create insight or vision. In the Safe House scenario, Manhattan is flooded once again but this time we escape it just in time. The vault of ideas, already disconnected from the gallery floor, detaches and embarks on its own journey to find alternative worlds. Much has happened since Koolhaas’ swimmers, who finally docked their pool, the "haven of purity in the poisoned world," on the shore of Manhattan. Now, the Safe House passes the recently renovated pool that was once invented by a daring student constructivist on its way out of Manhattan’s harbor. The quest of Safe House is to salvage the remnants of all pure architectural ideas,
inventions and intuitions across the poisoned globe for an alternative future.