an Archi(tech)tural Fairytale
This fairytale explores the possibility of a living and breathing architecture. Sky Dome 35 serves as a refuge, featuring domes that mimic the functions of human skin. A complex system of filters and tubes, filled with gases and liquids, creates intricate mosaics, allowing the skin to adapt the interior environment according to the inhabitants' requirements. In a time marked by the planet's unpredictable environmental and political conditions, the domes serve as a reliable constant.
fig. 1 atomic explosion
“We will forever be remembered as the generation that took the leap into the unknown. I can hardly recall the details of the day we departed, but one image remains etched in my memory: the final glimpse I cast upon my lawn as we drove away. It's a vivid recollection, one that would demand an entire spectrum of greens to capture a single blade of grass.
What's truly remarkable about the human psyche is its unyielding hope for a positive outcome, even in the bleakest of circumstances. The Earth had suffered and bore scars in every imaginable way. Drinking-water reservoirs had transformed into murky pools, and conversations about the weather were no longer mere small talk. Political unrest had escalated to the point where traveling between countries seemed too perilous. Despite the prevailing desolation, no one anticipated that a war would actually erupt, and even more unexpectedly, that we would be compelled to abandon our homes.
In a matter of seconds, thousands of square kilometers of land became completely uninhabitable. The explosions instantaneously obliterated half of the country, while another quarter succumbed within days due to exposure to the toxic aftermath. The chaos of those initial days continues to haunt us in our moments of tranquility.
Amidst the detonations, a fortunate majority of the sky domes remained secure, as they were strategically positioned above the oceans. These initiatives, funded by the government, were designed to enhance air quality through microclimate manipulation. These domes were envisioned to serve as havens from the overcrowded and polluted lands below. Several thousand individuals were already residing within these domes when the cataclysmic blasts occurred, leaving those of us on the terrestrial ground with no viable alternative but to follow suit.
The relatively straightforward aspect of this transition lay in the fact that the sky domes were not entirely unfamiliar to us prior to the nuclear devastation. Scientists and journalists had referred to them in technical terminology beyond the grasp of the common folk, while we, the unpretentious, simply described them based on their appearance. Some visionary teams, in collaboration with architects and designers, had also worked to enhance the aesthetics and spatial layout of these structures. Naturally, this led to some domes evolving into opulent retreats for the affluent, who could indulge in the luxury of clean and controlled air.
I could not imagine leaving the comfort of my own home. The familiarity of my life and the warm embrace of my own bed held too much sentimental value to relinquish.
My mother possessed a repertoire of proverbs that she employed to eloquently convey her sentiments. ‘Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die,’ she would say. She was prepared to abandon everything we had in order to secure safety once more, recognizing that we needed to undergo a rebirth. She exemplified the greatest resolve among us, confronting each step with unwavering determination. Many families had chosen to remain behind, but only a few of them survived to recount their harrowing experiences. Being within a 1000km radius of the epicenter of the explosions meant suffering the fatal consequences of radiation poisoning.
Our assigned residence is Sky Dome 35, a luxurious refuge that presents a profound paradox. SD35 is a sight to behold, resembling nothing short of a regal palace. Comprising five towers, each crowned with its own distinctive dome, this architectural marvel combines both form and function. From a distance, the domes appear as intricate mosaics, but upon closer inspection, they reveal a complex network of chambers and conduits designed to regulate the internal environment within the lower compartments. These mosaics serve as a sophisticated filter-conversion system, meticulously engineered to optimize air quality. The creators of these domes aspired to construct a living structure that seamlessly marries aesthetic allure with practicality.
We affectionately refer to this structure as 'Our Dome,' phonetically synonymous with 'Our Home.' The imposing beauty of Our Dome conceals a multitude of enchanting functionalities. Decorative elements that seem to merely please the eye are imbued with even more captivating purposes. Stained windows, for instance, are not mere adornments but rather compartments of glass filled with ever-changing liquids, transmitting a diverse spectrum of light frequencies and colors. Depending on the room, these light rays intermingle with the liquids and gases produced by the domes, creating bespoke atmospheric conditions. In fact, one of the rooms even features hydrotherapy pools that release vitamins and minerals into the air.
In the initial days, we minimized our time spent outside of Our Dome due to the combination of poor air quality and elevated radiation risks. Fortunately, our greenhouse occupied the entire fourth floor of the central tower. This sanctuary was divided into two miniature ecosystems, featuring an array of plant species and several dozen insect varieties. The growth of flora and fauna in this controlled environment was remarkably accelerated, primarily owing to the continuous application of potions and chemicals. Over time, Our Dome's system detected our aversion to the occasional stickiness and viscosity of these substances, and it adjusted its operations accordingly when we were in the room.
After all this time, the dome remains an enigmatic presence in our lives. Its anthropomorphic characteristics instill in us the sensation of living within the confines of a colossal family pet. It functions as an epiphyte, an organism that moves and comprehends our presence, treating us as both its inhabitants and an extension of itself. Through its chemical metabolism, it continually renews the air we breathe. The intricate machinery and chemical processes within it are meticulously programmed to ensure our well-being. It actively observes us, gathers data, and adapts its responses accordingly.
During the initial weeks of our stay, I harvested such an abundance of pomegranates that the greenhouse managed to sprout three new pomegranate trees in a matter of days.
As we patiently await any semblance of positive news regarding the conditions outside, we have gradually acclimated to this novel way of life. I find myself echoing the wisdom of my mother with a collection of proverbs of my own. ‘If you want to see the future, look at what the rich folk are doing,’ I often remind myself. Who were the first to possess cars and cell phones? The affluent. Who had the privilege of experiencing the domes firsthand? The same group. Novel advancements may commence as luxuries, but even individuals like us, ordinary-Ojagars, inevitably become reliant on them over time.
We have evolved alongside the domes, and, in turn, the domes have adapted to accommodate our needs.
I found myself within the winter chamber when a solitary snowflake seized my attention. It pirouetted and gently drifted into my hand. I observed as it melted, as all snowflakes do, each delicate flake uniting in a miniature pool within my palm. I couldn't help but smile as I wiped it away. The chamber itself emitted a gentle murmur as the room grew colder."