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Archi-World Academy Awards: Pocket Blackouts

The Archi-World Academy Award is a two years (2011/2013) lasting contest giving young architects and architects of tomorrow coming from the entire world the chance to present their best projects or concepts in the field of energy savings. No other architecture contest on such wide scale as ever been organized before. Entries can be submitted until 30 October 2012.

Name of the team: Jason Kim
Name of the project: Pocket Blackouts
Year of construction: 2011
Site location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Archi-World Academy Awards: Pocket Blackouts

View of the masterplan

The studio analyzes Post-Crisis Urbanism; paralleling the reasearch of postcrisis invention: conditions and cutlure which arise or respond to the crisis. One of the major crisis that is experienced in the Dominican Republic is the energy crisis. Although the energy crisis is something that affects developed countries as well as the developing countries, the Dominican Republic faces a specific type of energy crisis that is local to their environment - rolling blackouts.

As peak production for all fossil fuel are approaching, these typical energy sources are being replaced with sustainable energy harvesting. However, this tactic remains a difficult means as sustainable technology is expensive. This led to the research of how blackouts are an alternative means of manmade sustainable energy source. During these moments of blackouts there would be a urban social transformation in the urban experience via pocket blackouts and pocket parks which is even distributed within the site.
A study of net electricity production and consumption of the Dominican Republic was conducted to find that about half its power is lost through the distribution process. It is the cause of rolling black- outs which are then suppplemented by private generators.


Archi-World Academy Awards: Pocket Blackouts

It is discovered that the deficit amount relates to about 1251 hours of blackouts every year. Or if broken down to a daily amount about 3.5 hours a day.

The proposed project occurs on two scales: the master plan scale and the block prototype. The master plan scale looks at how to create diversity in the zoning so there is no instance of an entire block experiencing blackout. And so the master plan takes on a pixilated characteristic that reflects square footage as well as unit of measure for electricity (kWh/m2) and so each block has a mixed use of housing, commercial, office and public spaces which would activate in the event of blackouts. 

At the prototypical scale, the density of other programs—such as housing, office and commercial—fits around the scale of the public space. For example, recreation spaces require more space for playing fields which then eat away at other program’s area, as oppose to gallery spaces which innately require less of a foot print. These prototypes are then dispersed on the Sansouci site equally to create “pocket blackouts.” On a prototypical block scale, the design not only considers the possibility of public space to occur on the ground floor, but also considers use of the roof tops. And so the urban fabric flips inside out as people exit buildings and enter public spaces which occur at various scales both above and below the pixilated buildings. The building public space typologies, or nodes, are presented as the following: art exhibit, artificial beach, disco tech, and recreation.

The idea of blackouts in conjunction with the public space is to prove that the Dominican Republic can have self-sustaining cities with man-made sustainable methods of simply using less electricity. Of course, sustainable technology is always a viable option, but these technical products still rely on an external force to input and generate energy.

Archi-World Academy Awards: Pocket Blackouts

While most urban plan is conscerned with zoning of programmatic regions, when these zones experience a scheduled blackout, large bodies of the plans are unpowered and do not have an zero electriccal consuming alternatives. By distributing program equally on the site, power is equally distributed and so are the blackouts. This then allows for public space to be laced easily into the masterplan.

Archi-World Academy Awards: Pocket Blackouts
Archi-World Academy Awards: Pocket Blackouts

View of Recreation Roof

Archi-World Academy Awards: Pocket Blackouts

View of Beach Roof

Archi-World Academy Awards: Pocket Blackouts

View of Art Courtyard Space

Archi-World Academy Awards: Pocket Blackouts

View of Performance Courtyard