Future islands: Preparing for a new scenario

12.02.2009 Carbon Neutral : Autonomous Ecosystem : Artificial Architectural Landscape
Zira Island by BIG Architects Zira Island by BIG Architects
Zira Island by BIG Architects Zira Island by BIG Architects
Zira Island by BIG Architects Zira Island by BIG Architects

Azerbaijan – A huge new architectural project in a largely untouched part of the world is testament to the new global dilemmas affecting us all: how to plan for the future in uncertain times. Zira Island on the Caspian Sea is a new artificial architectural landscape in which all buildings will be carbon neutral, ready for a future in which governments will inevitably draw up extremely low-tolerance guidelines on any new carbon-emitting developments.

The project is being developed by BIG Architects and the Ramboll engineering company. It will attempt to recreate the natural landscape of the country, imitating the silhouette of Azerbaijan’s famous seven peaks, and will create an autonomous ecosystem where energy flows as naturally as possible through the buildings within it.

Although a handful of academics and the odd banker predicted the credit crunch, most officials and governments did not see it coming, and its effects have rapidly rippled around the world. In these uncertain times, both decision-makers and designers are planning for a new situation in which change is harder to foresee and will occur swiftly. This trend, which we are calling the Fifth Scenario, will be detailed shortly on LS:N Global. We will track the ways in which intelligent planning and foresight can avoid the pitfalls of sudden change in the future.

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