EcoNET: Project_4 Incorporated is taking place in a remote flat landscape somewhere in suburban Pennsylvania. In early morning hours foggy carpets cover the bare fields. Clusters of unruly grass, shrubs and occasional trees attract the deer, the coyotes and the detecting_drone patrols. Forest turtles have adapted to nest in the myco-engineered berms. In winter, the earth is hiding under the snow, and only the detecting poles (DU) lights are visible from a distance.
Just ten years ago this area was amidst a heated political debate over naval technologies applied by utility companies. Now, it’s a testing ground for restoring nature’s equilibrium with most advanced bio-robotic methods. This is where the scientists of Project_4 Incorporated are perfecting the system of synthetic bio-remediation and hunting down malfunctioning robots.
Human settlements are visible from a remote distance. Unlike during the industrial times, there are no fences around Project_4 grounds. Yet, humans don’t like coming here- this area has caused too many problems over the years. Fire alarms in the middle of the night, leaks of toxins into the public water system that dried out all the trees in Battler’s public parks system over the course of one year, and rather strange encounters with robotic equipment that one can easily mistake to be a stationary structure while it is actually a man-powered tree planting bot or some other fast moving machine.
There are rumors about other Project_4 sites that became desired tourist destinations due to the popularity of rare floral mutations. This site also has the potential to become home of the next model EcoNET in two decades or a high-end residential area with exemplary school system...
Project_4 Incorporated began as a distributed network of climate labs that participate in diagnostics and remediation of contaminated landscapes. The innovation, at the time, was that the corporation was comprised of both humans and robots, weaved to communicate over one wireless network. Together, these labs were to create an environmental surveillance alliance alerting of contamination levels found in water, soil and air.
Image. Operational Systems of Project_4 Incorporated
The turn happened when certain advancements in material ecology allowed to engineer bio-processors capable of digesting contaminated matter while evolving and adapting. The board of directors presented the fomula to the board of trustees:
ROBOTIC BioTECH+ SOFT REMEDIATING INFRASTRUCTURE = NEXT NATURE ECOLOGY
It was a snow ball effect. EcoNET Project_4 infrastructure became the trade mark of environmental rehabilitation all over the United States.
“This thesis explores the changes that architecture might undergo in order to be both transformed and built-out into an antidote to the egregiously damaging environmental practices of large utility companies and the insidious pockets of civic planning that allow them. While this may seem a stretch to architecture’s role as neutral vs savior, the project asks specific questions to architecture’s ability to be: a platform, a monitor, a remediator, an interface, a harvester, a partner and so on.
The project proposes a phased process of detection, generative construction, monitoring, processing, remediating and other operations. As a disciplinary project, it explores the ways in which architects can script behavioral system that lay the seed for architectural decision making, organization logics and even morphogenetic growth and differentiation.”
(Jason Vigneri-Beane, Split Studio)
(Jason Vigneri-Beane, Split Studio)