LOCATION: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
SUMMARY: W-all is the reduction of architecture into one sustainable unit, a path towards a carbon- and waste-free society. It is an object in which all the mechanical-ecological functions of a house are concentrated and managed, bringing together the sustainable add-ons necessary to drop the building-operations’ environmental impact to zero.
PROBLEM SPACE: W-all was conceived as a response to the current pace and scale of world urbanization in respect to its environmental impact. At the same time the building sector was recognized as the major source of climate change, with elevated energy consumption and co2 emissions levels, the largest share of construction continues to be driven by economic purposes only, without proper commitment to design standards and sustainable ways of living. Quantity has prevailed over quality, a setting in which design is erroneously associated with higher costs. Architects, regretting their exclusion from this system, have mostly avoided diving into this reality, a continuum of inglorious architecture built for profit only. Architecture, then, already having produced ingenious sustainable buildings, became marginal, represented by punctual solutions that are not transferable or scalable enough to be fully integrated into the existing building marked; solutions that stand like jewels of environmental consciousness. The discipline has failed because it has not accepted that it lost control, failing to acknowledge that bad buildings are as important for the world and the climate as good ones. As Rem Koolhaas once put, it’s time to embrace the existing and swim into the sea that has swept our sand castles away.
PROBLEM SPACE: W-all project is built upon the premise that, if we cannot scale operations that sell and implement complete sustainable designs and simultaneously tackle the problem of the existing building stock, we should reconsider the angle through which address the issue. Rather than producing solutions that demand entire restructurings of industry sectors, we need to work from within the current system. To disrupt the business-as-usual of the construction sector, we realized that instead of producing whole buildings, we can strip architecture of all its parts to focus on one single component. If we control one little piece, this can be the lever to change the whole system, a trimtab. One piece that is treated as a product for environmental integration. A product that any house can acquire and any new development can incorporate without having to change all the parameters they already work with. W-all is like a motherboard, the operations hub for the sustainable management of a house’s resources. It is a hardware for which any product developer can build a software. In low-income environments, the wall can be designed as the essential unit for achieving the user’s basic needs while allowing for an off-the-grid living.
CONTACT: [email protected]