12_SUPERGAPS

Cities are considered as Humanity’s greatest invention. They were built by humans, for humans, and are only perceivable through an anthropocentric point of view. Nowadays they flourish under the rule of a supereconomy, based on a lifestyle that is designed to exploit natural resources and create a production surplus that is to be wasted.

The epitome manifestation of this supereconomy is the superproduction, and as a result, the superconsumption, that is occurring in supermarkets proliferating around the city. These facilities produce tons of daily superwaste. This lifestyle has lead the planet into an ecological crisis, harmful for both non-humans and humans. Therefore we aimed at rethinking such an everyday building typology in order to induce a cohesive cohabitation of species, that would enhance urban biodiversity.

Land being one of the most important non-renewable resources, our project focuses on the supermarkets that make a superfluous use of land and thus create large voids in the city. Such gaps in the city, that we denominate SUPERGAPS, are mostly unused by both human and nonhuman animals, a potential that we decided to use in order to turn them into proto-ecosystems. The aim was to create a colonisable nest for animals in the contemporary biophobic city where they can find food, nests and reproduction.

From the three abovementioned pragmatic requirements for animal life, nutrition was the one directly related to supermarkets. The basis we use is the food waste, that is not suitable for human consumption, produced by the supermarket everyday. The life cycle of this fresh food will be elongated, before being destined to the organic waste bin. For this purpose, a mechanical cart of food was thought to travel through the space of the gap in a designed trajectory. This would be regulated by the principle of superiority, which would allow only animals that fly or climb to reach the space.

In addition to food waste, we use also the paper and cardboard waste from the supermarkets as a building material to build the nests in an incremental form, just like they are created by nature. This choice would lower the impact on the existing city fabric and let animals proliferate gradually. The pollination process will be enhanced thanks to the increasing amount of insects, pesticides could be avoided thanks to the increasing amount of birds that are the main consumers of insects, and finally, over the years, new green pockets within the city will flourish.

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