Electroplex Heights is one of 12 "architectural visions" commissioned by Vitra Design Museum as part of their "Open House: Intelligent Living by Design" travelling exhibition.
Electroplex Heights offers a new vision of urban living – a vision which reflects the radical changes that are affecting our landscapes, our lifestyles, and our notions of "home". Seventy-five years ago, in the heyday of modernism, Le Corbusier regarded the house of the future as a machine for living in. One could argue that we have exceeded Le Corbusier's expectations, and that much of the world itself has become a machine for living in. This is due in large part to the proliferation of digital technologies, whose invisible data streams increasingly fill the electromagnetic landscape, just as "virtual" realities increasingly occupy our minds.
How should we respond? A common strategy is to view the home as a fortress which keeps both the physical and virtual world safely at bay, limiting access to few people and fewer media (TV, radio, the Internet). The intent of this project is quite different. Electroplex Heights embraces the ever more blurred distinction between physical and telematic boundaries. By exploiting the play between the two realms, residents of Electroplex Heights might discover a thrilling new kind of wilderness – a magical hybrid of the electronic and organic, which lies right on (and passes right through) their doorstep.
Nowadays, what we think of as "the city" is predominantly fluid and immaterial – a quicksilver space where technological systems and services interact with inscrutable precision. The rough-and-tumble landscape beyond the city limits is (we think) more material, and yet, paradoxically, more alien – more unknown. These unloved stretches, the buffer zones between suburbia and countryside, provide the infrastructure which makes a modern city so seductive: depots, switchyards, processing plants, and so on. However, this landscape has its own unique seductions. And it is the inspiration for, and site of, Electroplex Heights.