Nov 1, 2017 | By Tess

Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut has won the Rifat Chadirji Prize for his proposal to build five farming bridges made from modular 3D printed housing units. The prize was awarded to the best idea for rebuilding the liberated and heavily destroyed parts of Mosul, Iraq.

Located in northern Iraq along the Tigris river, Mosul has been a contentious location in the war against ISIS, and many of its people and sites have been affected by the violence. It was only this past July, after a drawn out offensive, that Iraq’s prime minister announced that the city had been reclaimed from ISIS forces.

Now, however, the question of how to mend the city and its people remains.

Callebaut, an urban planning visionary, has proposed a creative solution to rebuilding and reinvigorating Mosul which consists of building “five farming bridges” along the Tigris river which would function as affordable housing as well as agricultural space for the people of Mosul.

The general idea of the project is to build a sort of new city over the river, which would provide over 53,000 living spaces for people and use the debris from the war ravaged parts of Mosul as building materials.

The housing units, inspired by muqarnas, an Islamic form of ornamental vaulting, would be constructed using 3D printing technologies and could be organized in modular and adaptable fashion to suit the families or individuals living in them.

Arranged in an almost pyramid-like structure, the 3D printed housing units would also be covered with urban farms and agricultural spaces to allow the residents of the bridge-city to feed themselves and to create a healthy, green environment.

By placing the farming bridges over the Tigris river, Callebaut also envisions a micro-society that uses the water of the river to irrigate the urban farms, and in which used bathroom and kitchen water can be cleaned and recycled by using natural lagoon waterfalls, which feed the water back into the river. To keep crops healthy and thriving, Callebaut has also planned for biomass composting systems.

The concept for the farm bridges relies on five 3D printers that resemble “articulated spiders,” and which are capable of building 30 housing units a day. Callebaut says that homes would consists of either 2, 5, or 10 modules, which could be arranged in various ways depending on the habitants’ needs.

“The urban planning model can be easily replicated with the goal of rapidly increasing the housing capacity in the city and providing a practical and inspiring solution for war repatriates,” says Callebaut. “This pioneering concept could change the way to construct buildings—making the process faster and less costly—fighting poverty and feeding the post-ISIS Mosul.”

Of course, the creative and awe-inspiring farming bridges are still just a concept, and it could take years before a project of this scope could even be feasible. We, for one, would like to see these spider-like construction 3D printers be developed.

Still, Callebaut may be onto something with his “Five Farming Bridges” proposal, as he was selected as the winner of the Rifat Chadirji competition, which was searching for the most innovative ideas for rebuilding a liberated Mosul.

We wrote about the Belgian architect a few years ago for his equally innovative oceanic cities built from 3D printed algae and plastic waste.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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