The waste heat installation Oasis No. 8 is situated in a vacant lot in the city of Graz. Powered by the waste heat of refrigeration units from a Pizzeria and a bakery it creates a tropical micro climate for growing banana, pineapple and papaya plants. As a parasitic architectural intervention it can keep the interior climate of an EFTE bubble at more than 15° Celsius over the winter, the minimum temperature required by the tropical plants. The greenhouse bubble creates a contrast to the historic center of Graz and uses only unused energy, waste heat from a cold store. The volunteers of the ‘Bananahood’ is caring about the plants and controls the technical system via smartphone. In late summer 2016 Papaya and Banana fruits have been harvested and tasted by the public. The project is an attempt to reveal energy potentials, criticize established systems and demonstrate new modes of action.
Theory behind the project
Statistically, the banana is the most popular tropical fruit in several European countries and available in supermarkets all year round. Getting to enjoy bananas and other tropical fruits in Europe requires a high level of energy and global logistics. Harvested while still green, the fruits are shipped from exporting countries with subtropical climates to Europe. This way of consumption stands for the current ecological foot-print – requiring 1.5 Earths to meet the demands humanity makes on the biosphere. To enter in global action against climate change, (local) built environment has to access synergetic natural systems. Material flows will have to run from ‘cradle to cradle’ and biotic and non-biotic systems must be united.
’Synergetic urbanism’ is an answer on the challenges of climate change. Inspired by the dynamics and forces of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere, synergetic urbanism activates local resource- and material flows in order to create zero-emission products, cities and life. Synergetic space strategies utilize locally harvested energy rather than supplied high-quality energy.
The concept of “urban oasis” intents to harvest, accumulate and transform energy streams and potentials in the urban field into synergetic cycles. Focusing on waste-heat places in the city (such as the office-, industry- and food sector), automated + social installations in different scales try to develop solutions for food production or any other needs. The installation Oasis No. 8 can be seen as a prototype for using local available energy sources for the production of food in urban settlements. Project in collaboration with the Botanical Garden Graz and the Institute for Art in Public Space Styria.