From the nuclear city to the Eco-city | Íñigo García Odiaga

Oak Ridge en Estados Unidos
Oak Ridge in USA

It seems that the construction of a city ex–novo, from zero it is an exposition that it has to see with the antiquity, but actually it is a phenomenon that taking to this him I finish even at present. To construct a new city, where before there was nothing he carries a titanic exposition and of maximum importance, for what in general it is a process tied to economic, social and political very strong impulses. A good example of these political impulses is the carried out one for Brazil in 1956 for the construction of his cardinal Brasilia in an interior plateau of the country. Lucio Costa as town planner, Oscar Niemeyer supervised by the architects who would build the buildings and Deceive Marx as architect of the landscape, they were late 41 months in inaugurating a city that would grant world reputation to them.

I marry one similar but of different well motivation it is that of Oak Ridge’s city in The United States. Oak Ridge was born in 1942 when The United States hurried to constructing an atomic bomb before Hitler’s Germany was doing it. Directed by the study SOM, at present one of the major ones of the world, the engineers of the army raised in two years a city for 75.000 inhabitants. The first nuclear reactor of the history was constructed in this city together with several industrial complexes, in the record time of 30 months. Many cities have met affected by the wars, but Oak Ridge is one of few cities that have been created because of a war.

Oak Ridge en Estados Unidos en 1942
Oak Ridge in USA on 1942

To be able to construct there is this speed especially during the Second World war, when the materials of construction were scanty, the office of SOM, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill adapted the system of panels of cement for the designs of approximately 2.500 modular homes. These robust and light panels consisted of a core of fiber of sugar cane, insulating boards in both sides and lined with asbestos and cement, facilitated the building construction with an ultramodern language and in tuning in with the modern movement.

The city sheltered hundreds of engineers, technical Superiors and high military charges, which were developing his work in plots you suspend, which it was making very difficult to have a global vision of the set. Hereby the great majority of the residents were involuntary participants in the crop of uranium for the bomb “Little Boy”, which devastated Hiroshima in 1945, and only they knew at what they had been employed exactly when there read the holders who were proclaiming the end of the war. Oak Ridge’s secret city I generate to his inhabitants a sensation similar to that of the protagonist of the movie Truman’s Show, in that the principal personage lives through his daily life opposite to the chambers still before being born, though it is not conscious of this fact. In the age of Google, Facebook and the social networks it is difficult to imagine how there could be possible the construction of a secret city with a cheated population. At present and under the protection of the illusion of the best world, which little has to see with the nuclear world, the ecology is the magma that surrounds these projects.

Oak Ridge’s interiors in The United States in 1942

Masdar, designed byFoster&Partners, is a city projected under the premises of zero emission of carbon and zero residues, in the middle of the desert of the Arab Emirates. In the first phase of a construction that will end as it is foreseen in 2016, tries to lodge 50,000 persons in a city studied in section to work in three levels.

Masdar, designed by Foster&Partners. town and country planning

Opposite to an absolute absence of water, summer temperatures that exceed 55 degrees and an economy based on the oil, Norman Foster’s study has designed a city in which the public transport, the pedestrians and the cyclists dominate the urban panorama and in which the citizens do not depend any more of the car.

A head office of photovoltaic power constructed in the suburbs together with a system of recycling of garbage, it will provide the electric power, whereas the impossible one, and sophisticated system of recycling of gray waters will help to the viability of a green city surrounded by the desert.

Masdar, diseñada por Foster y Partners. Instituto Árabe
Masdar, designed by Foster&Partners. Arabic Institut

Though it could seem that it is the ecology the one that guides this green impulse, Abu Dabi chases to be the pioneer in the development of environmental technologies and renewable energies and hereby to transform his economy of the wealth of the hydrocarbons to the wealth of the sustainable technology.

For good or for evil it is curious to verify how as Oak Ridge was created to support the economic hegemony of The United States by means of the nuclear power, Abu Dabi raises Masdar to support his status after the age of the oil taking advantage of the central current worry, the ecology. The same aim chased from opposite poles, let’s hope that at least the ecological thing obtains better results that the nuclear thing.

Masdar, diseñada por Foster y Partners
Masdar, designed by Foster&Partners. Central square

íñigo garcía odiaga. architect
san sebastián. juny 2011

Artículo publicado 2011.06.19 _ ZAZPIKA

Íñigo García Odiaga

Arquitecto. Editor de NOMU. 1/5 del estudio de arquitectura VAUMM. Vivo en Donosti.

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