Intensive Agricultural Incubator

project for Kolkata slums

Calcutta, India

According to U.N. surveys, inhabitants of Kolkata’s slums perceive the lack of infrastructural facilities as condition to escape from their poverty. Nonetheless they have developed a very sophisticated social network based on mutual help, community exchanges, education and spaces’ negotiation.

The project aims to build up an operative infrastructure that acts directly at lower scale, capable of adapting to several conditions, evolving and proliferating. An incubator of activity that will stimulate the social cooperation within slum’s communities. A micro-infrastucture organization generates intense agricultural procedures (the inhabitants of the slums left the field to move in the city for better conditions) as an economical set-up.

The main basic component is a recycled pipe, constitued by two sub-units: an artificial and a biological part. Such component operates as a machine, engaging different programs as water phytodepuration, water filtering, vegetal cropping, rice and wheat farming, and organic waste treatment. Clusters of components organize ecological cycles, calibrated on the necessities of singles, families and sub-collectives.

This organization is an open social interaction: mutual exchanges or program interfecences catalyze multiple scenarios of evolution. Each macro unit becames a sensible organism that triggers sustainable processes, promotes slum’s identity and operates within principles of self-organization.

Kolkata Incubator Concept
kolkata incubator concept


Concept Design at IaaC

Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalunya

Master of Advanced Architecture 2006-7

project of Berardo Matalucci

tutor: Jorge Godoy Roman, Izaskun Chinchilla

Ecotectonic Village

The project focuses on the development of a housing system based on an adaptive ecosystem approach, on principles of environmental sustainability and energetic self-sufficiency. The impact of inhabit the ecosystem is defined by a complex (evolutionary) organization.

The model, identifying emerging phenomena, is structured through three complementary non-hierarchical moments:

1) Strategic, defined by inductive indications and criteria that structure the procedures;

2) Proto-typical, in which are defined dynamic associations between cyclic model-machines and manipulation of inputs and outputs;

3) Testing, advanced through the measurements of expected performances that calibrate the strategy and improve the prototypes.

The simultaneous coordination of these moments open the possibility to constitute an intelligent organism that explore different scenarios thought the incorporation of heterogeneous conditions.

In the specific case, the strategic starting point is the consideration of the symbiotic dynamics of the lichens that are based on two processes that are common to most of the ecosystems: photosynthesis and fermentation. The first one has been associated to the procedures of the plants while the second to the human actions that were targeted to be extremely connected to the natural and artificial life cycle.

The biological dynamics become the basis for the prototypes definition and developed through the experimentation of different machines:

1_ study of the symbiotic interaction between algae and yeasts, to understand the property of interaction and the quantities involved in the fermentation and photosynthetic processes;

2_ implications of field effect between different organisms;

3_ implementation of a geometric system and the study of these dynamics in model scale and territorial scale;

4_ association of a proper geometry to the dynamics of symbiosis and to the housing and cultivation program in the housing scale.

The house unit is divided, according to the symbiotic principle, in two fields: the lower part is dedicated to the fermentation process, related to the decomposition of organic waste of plants, digestion of waste and production of biogas. The upper one is dedicated to photosynthesis, plant growing, water collection and storage.

Every single house works as a complete unit, that organize internal cycles of re-uses and mutual benefits, both optimized for the natural and human life. Furthermore that unit operate to threat the biological and organic waste as natural regenerator of degraded soils, typical of the specific selected area. This means that the units operate thought a changing natural footprint that is determining the “life” of the architectural manufacture itself.

Because more is the quantities produced and consumed (Co2, O, waste, water) more is the space occupied, the proliferation of the units offers an important social experience. In fact, the social meaning of “property” is now shifted to a cooperation-property, where it is not the actual perimeter that define it, but the complex amount of activity that you do on it. The continuous negotiation among the inhabitants it directly translated to effect on the environment in terms of adsorption (+) and consumption (-), but also a specific spatial configuration that derives from this balance.


Concept Design at IAaC

Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalunya

Master of Advanced Architecture 2006-7

project of Berardo Matalucci and Fabiano Spano

tutor: Jorge Godoy Roman