Floating “3-C City”

1978 saw a fire which burned down Ant Farm’s Studio and Archives. Founded in San Francisco, in the late 1960s by Chip Lord and Doug Michels, Ant Farm was a leading practice in the fields of Environmental Design, Architecture, and, Graphics Art. The very popular firm liked to acknowledge its work by calling themselves an “art agency that promotes ideas that have no commercial potential, but which we think are important vehicles of cultural introspection.”

Dolphin Embassy-Courtesy of Ant Farm

Dolphin Embassy-Courtesy of Ant Farm

Three of its most remembered works include, the house of the century, dolphin embassy and convention city. For this year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial, WORKac joined forces with Ant Farm’s Chip Lords and Curtis Schreier to recreate their lost archives, choosing the above mentioned projects as their starting point. New drawings have been created inspired by the older ones.

Section of the House of the Century-Courtesy of Ant Farm

Section of the House of the Century-Courtesy of Ant Farm

“I taught studio with Chip Lord a few times, and in the back of our minds, we always had the idea to try and do something together,” Dan Wood, partner at WORKac, explained how he always liked Ant Farm and the idea of them together.

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

The designers came upon the idea of a “Floating City” which bore resemblance to all the three projects in one way or another. 3-C City, as it is known, is independent of any governance or political demarcations, i.e., it belongs to no country. The three C’s stand for climate, convention and cruise.

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

It is supposedly a City built to accommodate people and other species amidst a healthy atmosphere of debate and discussion between them. It is a “vehicle of dreams” along with a research lab and a conference center.

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

“The idea is that it’s a floating city not bound by any national borders. People can come together to live in a different way and discuss important issues of the day.”

Inflatable Spaces along the perimeter form the residential zone, interspersed with large vertical cuts through the floor plate serving as public dining areas, or, collective meeting places.

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

The interior spaces have been very aptly described as “interior landscape of participation that includes not only people but also dolphins and whales that can participate in the discussion.”

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

Voids have been used as a means of connectivity among spaces. Solar panel shingles, greenhouses and gardens, an algae farm for bio-fuel and a water-collection river forms the details of the design, and serves the basic needs for all living there.

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

“Ant Farm had this famous Truckstop Network, which was about America connected by highways,” explains Wood, “This kind of blows that up to the global scale.”

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

Courtesy of WORKac and Ant Farm- Photography: bruce damonte

The installation features drawings, videos, and a model of the floating city, a major attraction at the Biennial.

‘3.C. city proposes a new symbiosis between ecology and infrastructure, public and private, the individual and the collective,’- WORKac

project credits:

ant farm: chip lord, curtis schreier
WORKac team: amale andraos (principal), dan wood (principal), tom goddeeris, chije kang, laetitia fontenat, margaux guillot, trevor hollyn taub, jun deng, madeeha merchant

By: Antara Jha

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