This beautiful model is part of the project Oogst 1 designed by the Dutch office Tjep which introduces a self sufficient house for one person that provides its resident with food, energy, heat and oxygen. Its authors even add “In principle, one could live in Oogst 1 Solo without ever having to leave the house.” Beyond the ingenuousness of the design and its beautiful representation (one would not help noticing the introduction of the Dutch house’s paradigm), one might want to look at Oogst having in mind the issues brought by the notion of self-sufficiency housing. This problem is currently very popular and is the topic of several competitions (like the ones organized by the IAAC that was first won by our friend Gaetan Kohler) but few people seems to envision the issues linked to this notion.
In the less problematic case, we can approach self-sufficiency as a mean for one or several persons to deliberately separate themselves from society and, this way, refusing to contribute to a collective achievement. In a much more problematic case, one could observe the incredible social discrepancies between rich and poor within society and the constant territorial fragmentation that result from them. Self-sufficient gated communities appear as the future housing paradigm for an economical elite that constitute exclusive zones in the middle of the societal world. Those zones even manage more and more to communicate with each other without entering into the common areas like in Sao Paulo or in Lagos where rich people connect one zone to another by helicopters.
I am aware that the notion of self-sufficiency is primary related to the question of “green energies” but ecology seems to be the current best alibi for capitalism to sustain itself and to increase those social discrepancies to their extreme. Three years ago, I attempted to envision the near future of such territoriality, but rather to the other point of view, the one of the pauperization of the majority of the world which might end up living in vertical favelas which would probably be self-sufficient in their way too. The world will then be clearly separated into two camps which would territorialize even more the generalized civil war that Eric Hazan distinguish so brilliantly in our current society. One might say that this world already exists.