Terrace World, Ideal Spaces Working Group (vrbn.io)
artificial natures

Terrace World

Ulrich Gehmann

For the world to follow, we crafted a utopian example of a construction we labelled Terrace World. Based on a simple construction principle, 2 levels of plates resting on piloti-like columns, different communities live on these plates, with their individually designed architecture. It is a garden city extending in 3 levels on a large plain – ground level and 2 above it. On its ground level, the whole is interrupted by gardens, and ziggurat-like structures for more dense housings. Other plates serve for urban agriculture or as green areas devoted to other purposes. The communities on each plate design their own habitat, there are gardens, water basins, fountains, communal places comparable to an Italian piazza. There is a rich variety of forms since each community is different, and opposed to classical top down-utopian planning, the inhabitants can design their habitat according to their own wishes.

The entire structure also extends to the nearby mountain range, and if needed as a result of population growth, the system can be extended. Infrastructural devices are located below the piloti and inside them, in addition to elevators that reach from ground level to the upper parts of that world, to provide fast vertical connection and transport between the levels. A pedestrian could explore this world by walking from level to level, and from one community to another. For this reason, ramparts, bridges and stairways have been placed, to invite to walk, connecting these communities and the green areas as a physical network system.

It is a world of the future, a flexible structure of irregular shape, adaptable to changing population densities quite easily: new plates are built in case of increase, existing plates are left uninhabited in case of decrease. The city is placed in the midst of nature because urban sprawl has ceased; and all the agricultural surface needed for self-subsistence is located within the city space. There is a minimum of centralised structure and centralised government, since the communities of the plates are largely autonomous in their decision making. What forms of life come out is in the responsibility of the respective community. Despite their autonomy, each community can connect to other ones, and as a visitor, you could wander from one end of this world to the other without barriers.