On Saturday I went back to Gravel Hill Farm for a closer look at the outcomes, to take more photos and to hear the artists discuss their work. Fernando García-Dory has been working with the Centre for Sustainable Development at the Department of Engineering. Fernando often creates an installation environment, or Living Lab, for his projects. In this case the development model-apartment in which workshops were held to discuss the needs of future Gravel Hill residents. A polytunnel-style dome becomes a temporary laboratory in which to test an energy and low income tropical housing system. A screen in the kitchen demonstrates the role technology might play within a connected home and community. Games and models further test possible outcomes and scenarios likely, and less-likely, to befall a new settlement.
As a scale model for what the centre could be, it hosts diverse experimental pieces; an interface proposal for smart houses 2.0, a DIY tropical simulator, post-disaster shelter models, examples for a new vernacular architecture in rural Tanzania and a video commercial for them, as well as a refugee camp engineering strategy board.