Thursday, March 11, 2010


Il y a maintenant quelques années, le talentueux et créatif quatuor batave de MRVDV avait imaginé ce qu'il appela lui-même une PigCity. Cette proposition n'était pas qu'une pure provocation créative, car elle s'appuyait sur une analyse sérieuse associant défis agricoles, écologiques et alimentaires couplés aux nouvelles formes possibles de densité (voir la vidéo ), la densité étant depuis longtemps un terrain de réflexions privilégié de l'agence (voir, "KM3: Excursions On Capacity" et ).

Voilà les faits : "In 2000, pork was the most consumed form of meat at 80 billion kg per year. Recent animal diseases such as Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth disease are raising serious questions about pork production and consumption. It is evident that the current pork industry cannot proceed in the same way without causing many casualties.

Two opposing reactions can be imagined. Either we change our consumption pattern and become instant vegetarians or we change the production methods and demand biological farming.

Let us assume that we remain pork-eaters. Do we then have enough space for biological pig farming ?

With a production of 16,5 million tons of pork, The Netherlands is the chief exporter of pork within the European Union.
In 1999, 15.2 million pigs and 15.5 million humans officially inhabited The Netherlands. One pig needs an area of 664 m2, including current food processing: composed of 50% intensive grain production and 50% industrial by-products.

In the case of organic farming, pigs would be fed with 100% grain, leading to a required 130% more field surface due to the reduced grain production. This would cause a demand of 1726 m2 per pig, including the organic food processing. This would mean that there would be only 774 m2 per person left for other activities. In other words, 75 % of the Netherlands would be dedicated to pigs.

Can we combine organic farming with a further concentration of the production-activities so that there will be enough space for other activities ?
Is it possible to compact all the pig production within concentrated farms, therefore avoiding unnecessary transportation and distribution, and thereby reducing the spread of diseases?
Can we through concentrated farming, create the economical critical mass to allow for a communal slaughterhouse, a self-sufficient fertiliser recycler and a central food core, so as to solve the various problems found in the pig-industry ?

Les résultats de leurs réflexions furent ces images ci-dessus. Images presque charmantes grâce à leur traitement graphique quasi cartoonesque, mais qui ne déclenchèrent pas vraiment d'adhésion, ni - et c'est le moins qu'on puisse dire - de désir. Et on le comprend !! Qui, franchement, a envie de manger des porcs élevés dans ce qui ressemble plus un hôpital aseptisé qu'à une bonne vieille porcherie pleine de merde ?

Pig City or Pandemic Tower ?

A ce problème d'image sur l'élevage industriel (voir à ce sujet ), s'ajoute depuis plusieurs années celui beaucoup plus sérieux des menaces épidémiques que feraient prospérer ce genre d'exploitation ultra-intensive. L'apparition au printemps 2009 de la grippe H1N1, fut l'occasion - faut-il le rappeler ? - de voir refleurir toute une série d'articles sur le sujet.

Citons, notamment "Life-threatening disease is the price we pay for cheap meat" écrit par John Hari qui fut publié dans The Independant en mai 2009 et dont la thèse était celle-ci : "Modern factory farms have created a 'perfect storm' environment for powerful viruses". Et qui se concluait par "We always knew that factory farms were a scar on humanity's conscience – but now we fear they are a scar on our health. If we carry on like this, bird flu and swine flu will be just the beginning of a century of viral outbreaks. As we witness a global pandemic washing across the world, we need to shut down these virus factories – before they shut down even more human lives.".

Quelques jours plus tôt, Mike Davies avait, lui, publié dans The Guardian, "The swine flu crisis lays bare the meat industry's monstrous power" dans lequel il écrivait qu'en 2008, la "commission convened by the Pew Research Center issued a report on "industrial farm animal production" that underscored the acute danger that "the continual cycling of viruses … in large herds or flocks [will] increase opportunities for the generation of novel virus through mutation or recombinant events that could result in more efficient human to human transmission." The commission also warned that promiscuous antibiotic use in hog factories (cheaper than humane environments) was sponsoring the rise of resistant staph infections, while sewage spills were producing outbreaks of E coli and pfiesteria (the protozoan that has killed 1bn fish in Carolina estuaries and made ill dozens of fishermen)." N'y connaissant strictement rien en matière d'agriculture ou de virologie, je ne ferai aucun commentaire, si ce n'est pour vous renvoyer sur "Et si les pandémies nous obligeaient à penser notre futur urbain autrement ?".

What's next ?

Malgré cela, l'idée d'inventer et d'imaginer de nouveaux types de liens entre homme et agriculture à travers de nouveaux bâtiments hybrides associant notamment ferme et habitat, n'est évidement pas morte, et c'est tant mieux !

La preuve de cette créativité sur ce sujet, vous la trouverez, entre autres, ci-dessous, avec ce joli projet fORaLLtHEcOWS réalisé par CTRLZ Architectures, et dont vous pouvez télécharger la présentation en format pdf, .

Voilà, comment l'équipe de CTRLZ présente son travail :

" We aim to create a new model for society and not just a building.Our project is about economic decrease.

We imagine the growth of interconnected social spaces and a completely transparent model of energy and production. Raised housing units are pixilated in order to create a shared landscape that alternates private and public places; this is a base which will create a collaborative and social entourage. Ground level is free from construction and dedicated to cow graze and cultivation.

From the bottom to the sky, the succession of relational function is
(-1) commerce
(0) landscape and food production
(2) housing
(3) social public places and
(4) energy collect.

We are proposing a decentralized mode of living that group together production and consume. This is to promote a transparent hyperlocalized society and culture, where inhabitants can develop a public consciousness about their life cost in term of product waste and energy consumption.

Cette façon qu'ont les jeunes archis d'imaginer qu'à travers un bâtiment, ils vont régler une partie de tous les grands problèmes du monde, m'a toujours amusé. Mais cette prétention et cette illusion a toujours été une constante dans cette profession, et ce quel que soit l'âge de l'architecte. Alors ...

Quand j'ai découvert ce projet, je n'ai pas pu m'empêcher de penser au superbe pavillon hollandais réalisé par MVRDV pour l'exposition universelle d'Hanovre en 2000. Personnellement, c'est une des rares réalisations de ces dix dernières années qui m'ait vraiment bluffé.

"Nature arranged on many levels provides both an extension to existing nature and an outstanding symbol of its artificiality.
It provides multi-level public space as an extension to existing public spaces. And even by arranging existing programs on many levels it provides yet more extra space, at ground level, for visibility and accessibility, for the unexpected, for “nature.” Dividing up the space in the Dutch entry and arranging it on multiple levels surrounds the building with spatial events and other cultural manifestations. The building becomes a monumental multi-level park. It takes on the character of a happening

Une belle réalisation qui a connu une curieuse et assez cruelle fin, comme le raconte MVRDV sur son site sous le titre "From utopia to distopia"

"After the expo, the unemployment rate radically increased. People stared to leave the region. Who can under those circumstances invest the maintenance of the expo ? Almost none of the buildings were being re-used afterwards. Many of them were broken down. Except the Dutch. Why ? Had it become indeed a monument ? The Dutch pavilion remained as a solitude element within a landscape that looked after the fall of a nuclear bomb.

Fences were erected around the building. Lifts, trees and windmills were dismantled. Thousands of birds started to inhabit the vacant structure. Squatters (other birds) started to live in the floors. Partyseekers started to use the forest. It became a real park so to say.

This distopia was not so bad. It became a ruin in the best German tradition. As in Heine’s poems or in Goethe’s memories, a new ruin was born ! We could already imagine a structure overgrown with ivy... The secret discussion on its future, found its current apocalypse in September 2005.

Finally it has been sold. Through eBay.

Sur ce sujet, vous pouvez jeter un coup d'oeil et . Sans oublier, bien sur, "Et si dans un monde qui a faim, les villes devenaient d'immenses fermes ?"

Et pour ne pas conclure, juste cette fascinante pochette de l'album Animals de Pink Floyd, avec ce petit cochon volant au dessus de la magnifique Battersea Power Station. On peut y voir une allégorie sur le passage de la ville industrielle du XIX° à celle écolo et agricole du XXI° siècle.