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From being Consumers to becoming Producers: DESIGNING CYCLES at 64°

Cornelia Redeker, Sara Thor, Constanze Hirt


In the sub-arctic climate with its extremely short growing seasons and a land cover that is dominated by forest and very little agricultural land, the built-up area offers an untapped capacity when thinking about sites for food production. This accounts both for the existing and, given the dynamics of Northern Sweden in terms of development and population growth, the forthcoming building stock. 

Designing Cycles at 64° takes a multi-scalar approach addressing individual building typologies and, exemplarily for climate adaptation of northern climate zones, the city of Umeå, Sweden with its diverse urban fabric as a whole. Expanding on Bengt Warne’s Naturhus (1974) and following examples, we anticipate new multifunctional architectural models applicable in various contexts and scales (see fig. 2). It further builds on the hypothesis that low-tech, low-cost landscape-based solutions are applicable in different societal contexts and therefore potentially contribute to overcoming segregation (Redeker, Jüttner, 2020).

At 64° latitude, interior landscapes and their water-energy-food nexus offer interesting possibilities to extend growing seasons and diversify crops, to reduce energy consumption while providing hybrid living spaces between inside and outside. By exploring greenhouse extensions and building envelopes (GEEs) as local passive architectural solutions, DC64° sets out to build productive interfaces between the private and public sector, academia involving the disciplines of architecture and urban planning, urban water management, plant physiology and vertical gardening, as well as the general public in a living lab format. In this text we want to reflect on phase 0 of a living lab set up, reflect on the idea of a new vernacular for local food production in the sub-arctic and the context that defines this adaptive process and elaborate the outline of the methodology to be applied.

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