When you live over 1,000 miles away from other landmasses, self-sufficiency is the only way to continue to thrive.
The world’s most remote island is about 1,000 miles away from the closest landmass, a point of pride for the small South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha. Fishing boats service the island only 8-9 times per year and there is no airport on the island, making transport difficult. The internet was only available until 2006, when the service was stopped because it was so unaffordable and unreliable.
With so little assistance from the outside world, the citizens have found it increasingly difficult to rely on outside resources. The British overseas territory launched an international design competition that asked architects to create a new system and equipment for their island to adopt. A team led by Brock Carmichael Architects won the competition and their entry was cited as attracting attention because of its “practical approach and in-depth understanding of the issues.”
The competition asked for innovative and cost-effective approaches to making their island more sustainable, and that’s exactly what they got. Included in the design are more modernized buildings with insulated roofs and heated floors, a wind farm, a waste-to-energy incinerator, backyard greenhouses, community composting, and communal kitchen gardens.
Since they are so isolated, it’s important that they become self-sufficient but that they also pass on the knowledge necessary to keep the community going for future generations.
“Over a course of time, key people would be trained in any areas of expertise required to deliver these design proposals and acquire the knowledge and skills that can be passed down to generations to come,” Martin Watson, director of operations for Brock Carmichael Architects, said.
Not only will the locals be trained to manage the facilities, but locals will also build the facilities themselves using mostly materials found on the island, such as sheep wool, basaltic blocks, beach sand, and seaweed.
The architectural group plans to visit the island in the summer of 2017 before filling in too much detail on the plans. Though the group will be providing all of the information for how to carry out the plans, the government on Tristan da Cunha has final say on the designs and will base it on the viability and level of sustainability. Their goal is to produce 30 to 40 percent of their own energy in the next five years.
While this new development is going to be a huge project that will take years, the locals currently face the dangers of living on an island with an active volcano, earthquakes, and hurricanes that have solidified their resolve to move forward with the plans in order to battle the elements.
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