|Name:||Amit Imtiaz (Bangladesh) & Saipreethi Durairaman (India)|
|Studio:||AA360 SUMMER SCHOOL 2020|
|Studio Master:||Lydia Kallipoliti|
|University:||Architectural Association School of Architecture, United Kingdom|
Notes from the submission:
After returning from the moon Apollo-11 astronauts were quarantined for 21 days after setting foot to the moon. This contingency plan was placed due to the question raised What if the astronauts returning home bring some foreign germs or in another term -Moon plague”. The current pandemic situation brought us back to our living rooms. The idea of quarantine is not something new at all. Though pandemic teaching us lessons that might not have been possible if we didn’t face this situation. This edition of Summer school,2020 at AA focuses on three major issues “The climate, ethics, and health”. There was a total of five units in this edition. Our unit was titled The Planetary Household: Bio-control, Microclimates and the Hacking of Domestic Machines. This workshop aimed at examining the pandemic household as a scientific and ontological project. We targeted to put a spatial narrative and produce drawings of containment and interiorization. Perceiving the house as a machine of ingestion and excretion. Our homes are isolated and, penetration into the inner spaces is maintained in a strict protocol. The door is working as an airlock to the unknown world of contamination. Houses became individual space pods. Psychologically the outside world turned into a desert.
The whole process started with looking into the illustration of British cartoonist William Heath Robinson. The illustrations used various contraption mechanisms which might seem risky but worked as labor-saving automated domestic machines. Those contraption illustrations have become symbols of suburban modernity inside the homes following World War II. Though the ridiculousness encapsulated by Robinson was almost a century old but reflects the large-scale disorientation of domestic enclosure during the beginning of 2020. With reference from Heath Robinson, we examined modern-day domestic machines like Roomba, Samsung’s Ballie, IKEA’s Growroom, Aereco’s Smart Ventilation System, and Microbial Home Kitchen by Philip Design.
The core objective was to hack Heath Robinson’s contraption devices and reinvent the house as a complete mechanism of metabolism and process of digestion. In the process, we would discuss and critique the ideal notion of comfort, the fear of disease, and our fascination for biocontrol. And finally to produce collective narratives and drawings expressing the hysteria we are going through this confinement.
Initial work and Mid Review:
We started to look and find illustrations of William Heath Robinson. We have picked 3 individual illustrations by William Heath Robinson. Their titles were
1.“How to Dispense With Servants in the Dining Room”,
2.”Ingenious alarm clock” and
3.”How to Dispense with Servants in the Bedroom”
We inspected and deconstructed the three illustrations of Robinson. It was evident that every element used were aimed at human comfort. A few common features were there such as any windows inside the room are hardly noticeable. However, doors and trapdoors were present.
All the mechanisms used steam boilers or kettles, those were heated with candles or a spirit lamp. Some mechanisms used only hand gears. In most cases, pulley arrangements with knotted ropes or string function to complete the processes.
Then we studied the pattern of Roomba and How Li-dar technology works. Roomba uses a navigation algorithm called VSLAM- visual simultaneous location and mapping. In the optical system, the machines can judge the distance between walls or determine how close it is by vertical objects. On the other hand Lidar – Light Detection and Ranging, a remote sensing tech that uses light as a pulsed laser to measure distances. The light pulses combined other information recorded by the airborne system to provide accurate three-dimensional data about objects.
In modern times we use Alexa or Siri to our convenience and the internet is a must for combine data and sharing information. we thought of the Internet of things. We have considered a closed world where we inhale and exhale, we are in isolation however we are connected to the world virtually. Our inside world became the wallpaper background of our lives. This place is the subject to be get contaminated. We tried to modify a device that can detect the whole condition of the interior space in terms of dirt, air quality, temperature, and noise.
As Roomba has a decreased height it only can clean and detect the ground level of the room. Which means we cannot reach the upper level of the house. We thought of an integrated device that understands the architecture of the room and the air quality. So that everyday work becomes more comfortable and safe. The illustration of Heath Robinson also suggests human comfort at its best.
Due to Covid-19, our movement is reduced and human contact can be infectious. In that case, we can use drones for goods transportation. Air quality in the room can be measured by a nano-bot. According to the temperature and air quality level, our air controlling machines can be adjusted. It is necessary as there are particles below 10 microns that cannot be seen in the naked eye however an air sensor can easily detect the air quality and inform us. Considering these facts and inspired by William Heath Robinson’s illustration we created a dispensing bot that can control air quality and cleans the dirt. We were highly inspired by the drawing titled Anatomy of a Dwelling, from Reyner Banham, ‘A Home Is Not a House’, Art in America (April 1965) where various domestic gadgets are connected in a single unit.
As boredom piles up due to home-stay we added a talking arm so that it can be communicated and listened to as well. As per the functionality of Roomba suggest the device will be able to move and dispense according to the need of the dweller. A Thermostat attached to the system can regulate the temperature so that comfort level retains.
All the home appliances are connected to a single network and they are all programmed to act according to the internal environment of the interior space. Due to the Covid-19 situation, the practice of hand sanitizing is a mandatory act to survive in this pandemic situation. We attached an ergonomic sanitizing unit integrated with a UV light chamber as this sanitizer can kill 99% of germs. It also eliminates the provision of a continuous water supply.
As the interior of the air gets polluted or odor starts, the air gets pulled off by the air suction unit and replaced by fresh outdoor air. Continuous noise can cause irritation and anxiety for the dwellers. In this pandemic, we are roaming in the four walls of the house for an indefinite period. Noise can be a fatal element for peace of mind. A sound ranger will detect any sound above 85 dB and provide a threshold alarm so that we can monitor the situation.
In conclusion, we tried to explore the bio-sphere of the homes and the relationship of the machines with the inhabitants. William Heath Robinson’s illustrations played a major role in our design process. We developed an architecture for cleaning and disinfection unit. Which is not only connected to the machines inside the house also in symbiosis with the surrounding room environment.