On January 1st, 2040, Berlin, Germany will become the location of both the six month Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the yearly Cultural Capital of Europe. In order to mark this important moment for Berlin, the office of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in conjunction with Monsanto Corporation, are hosting an ideas competition for the design of an architectural system that can house the administrative programs of the Office of the Presidency while incorporating a new cultural program to address the mission of the Cultural Capital of Europe project.
Physical/Political Context – The Morphology of the EU
Moving every 6 months to a different member state, the location of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union is symbolic of the fact that Europe has no central capital. At the same time, it is also politically advantageous because it allows the host nation to set the agenda of the EU’s main law-making body according to national goals. In a similar way, the yearly designation of the European Capital of Culture is also financially important as a catalyst for the cultural development and transformation of the city.
As the EU/HQ’s host, Berlin will benefit from the opportunity to re-evaluate its particular cultural and political history. From fascism to communism, Berlin was the stage for many controversial political regimes in the 20th century, each of which left a distinct mark on the physical structure of the city. Often, however, the desire to move on has led to the systematic erasing of this history through new construction. Now, once again, the city must ask itself “which Berlin do we want to represent?”
Technological Context – Nano-robotics/Bio-technology
In addition to these cultural and political issues, the applicants are asked to address recent technological developments and their potential effects on the physical practice of architecture. In the past decade, the development of carbon-based nano-transistors has reached a consumer level, making the development of nano-robotics cost effective for small-scale architectural implementations. In addition, a new field of bacteria-based technology has uncovered a series of micro-organisms that can operate on the micro-level to affect structure.
This includes the Bacillus Pasteurii, which can solidify soil by turning sand into sandstone, and the Shewanella Bacteria, which naturally produces the carbon nano-tubes which have become the basis for all technology. When combined, these technologies have allowed the use of nano-robots to direct these natural bacterial processes to deploy not only material systems but also informational systems directly within the structure of the building. Working almost as a large-scale 3-d printer, this technology is able to build up and solidify both material and informational structure iteratively over time.
Register by: 04-22-2010 / Submit by: 04-22-2010