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Andrés Jaque: COSMO | Young Architects Program 2015

See how Andrés Jaque and The Office for Political Innovation are redefining our relationship to water with COSMO, a "movable artifact" made out of customized irrigation components. COSMO is this year's winner of The Young Architects Program, an annual collaboration between the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 that fosters innovative design research and promotes emerging talent. Learn more: http://bit.ly/1OA8KXr.

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Video transcript

When we see Queens and Long Island City from above, we don't see a big part of it. It’s pipes. Pipes are something that we tend to hide. Therefore, it becomes kind of the realm of experts, and something that is never criticized, understood or even discussed by people. At this moment that we are defining and re-defining the way we relate to water, in a scenario of water scarcity, there’s a great opportunity to re-think infrastructures to transform the way we relate to water. We found, through our research, that there were people out there testing new ways of treating water, and didn't rely on methods like chemicals and energy intensive processes like heating the water or using mechanical UV filtration. So we decided to incorporate plants into the system as a means of purifying the water in a sustainable way. Plants are really part of architecture, like humans are. They are basically performing many of the things that we need to create an environment in which we feel comfortable, and we are thinking that architecture can do a lot by redefining the way it relates with nature. Look at this one. Can you lift it higher? I can. The higher I lift it, the faster the explanation goes. That’s good? So basically, this is the hose that’s being used in the upper part of Cosmo. On a very basic level, it’s an ad hoc assemblage of parts that all are able to host and provide a place for different ecosystems to exist. This is a perspective from the ground... The water starts in the system here at the base, and then it’s pumped up in the transparent hoses all the way to the top, and then it comes down by gravity to the algae bags, the turf scrubber and then back into the tank, and the hanging gardens are fed by the purified water from the base. For a long time, people thought that architecture was kind of neutral but when we look in detail, architecture is never like that. Architecture is playing key political roles. The way we design locks or windows or doors, all these material decisions are decisions that are shaping society. To see the way that space and technology... when they come together through design they produce a curiosity for people to want to come inside.