Global populations are starting to shift. Varying factors are causing large populations to move from their original settlements. These displaced populations are putting pressure on already strained economies and triggering deep seated cultural tensions.
Project Lotus is a conceptual town that is designed to rehome large displaced populations such as refugees and in the future, those made homeless by rising sea levels as a consequence of global warming. For the purposes of the project I have chosen to focus on refugees affected by the Syrian civil war, Project Lotus will be built as a long term solution to the homeless population.
In Lesbos, Greece, vast numbers of the displaced population are overwhelming a small land mass that does not have the economical or physical capacity to cope. Creating an alternative place to live for the refugees removes the perception of land invasion by local populations and therefore will increase their willingnes to assist the displaced community. The pads utilise the structure that Giant Lilypads have evolved over millions of years. A ribbed system on their undersides trap air in pockets creating support for the weight of the pads. Project Lotus will use a similar method married with a submerged convex mound creating a negative space and displacing more water to increase support of the above construction. This mound serves the secondary function of being a base for encouraging new coral reefs to grow to encourage more local wildlife.
Project Lotus will need to adapt to a range of locations over the years as there are more and more displaced populations. The Pads are designed to have an interchangable layout drawing on the flexibility that honeycombs can have within a hive or stem cells in a foetus. The main pad in which the inhabitants will live is designed to emmulate a flower, a tall ‘Stamen’ in the center, a water tower for the desalination process, surrounded by the ‘Petal’ living quarters. Just as the base is designed to encourage local wildlife in the form of coral reefs, the stamen is formed to invite bird and insect populations to inhabit it.
Project Lotus is designed to be a long term housing solution and this includes relocation. Once the refugee’s original lands become habitable, the buildings can be deconstructed from the pads and transported back to their native land. The pads themselves can be relocated to a different marine location or, if the buildings are being transported back to a landmass, then the ribbing can stay to maintain the artificial reef.
Further consideration can be given to the scale Project Lotus can undertake. As the towns are designed to be completely self reliant with each inhabitant taking on a pivotal role in the community, there is not a limit to the size that the towns or cities could take. With sea levels rising, war will not be the only factor that will drive people away from their homes to look for alternative living solutions in the future. A marine based solution is the most appropriate response.