San Franciscans are viciously proud of their little gingerbread village of a city. Rightfully so. But soon, the demands of population growth will force San Francisco to expand its infrastructure, and all that quaint character could suffer. Imagine the wrath of the NIMBY crowds if a new wind farm came along and blocked their precious views of the Golden Gate. IwamotoScott Architecture’s solution: Hide the ugly below ground.
IwamotoScott, a young, theory-driven San Francisco firm, designed a futuristic master plan for the city in 2108, when the population is expected to double. Hydro-Net, as they call it, could’ve tumbled straight out of the mind of Syd Mead. The architects envision a subterranean world in which the city harvests its own green energy, and residents zip around in hydrogen-fueled hover cars (hover cars!!), freeing roads above ground from high-speed traffic. A street-level infrastructural web spread along the waterfront and at "nodal points" in various neighborhoods would connect to the below-ground networks (so people can actually get from their cars to their apartments). Somewhere in there, Hydro-Net would also be able to harvest fog as a water source, and "automated drilling robots" would build tunnel walls out of carbon nanotube technology that could store and distribute hydrogen fuel.
In short, both above- and below-ground worlds would work in tandem to collect and share water, power, fuel, and other goods, and cart residents and tourists around the city—presumably without blocking too many views of the Golden Gate.
Hydro-Net is one of eight designs included in Architecture of Consequence: San Francisco, an exhibit about how architecture can facilitate social change. It’s on view at AIA San Francisco | Center for Architecture + Design Gallery through Oct. 21. Stay tuned on Co.Design for more coverage of the show.
[Image courtesy of AIA San Francisco]