Vincent Callebaut's futuristic Pollinator Park can be visited in VR
If you've ever seen one of Vincent Callebaut Architectures' futuristic sustainable designs and wondered what it would be like to visit, you now can – sort of. The architect has created a conceptual mixed-use project described as a "refugee camp for insects" to raise awareness on the declining numbers of pollinating insects that's viewable in VR or through a web browser.
Bees and other pollinating insects are declining at an alarming rate. To bring attention to this, Pollinator Park was created in collaboration with the European Commission as part of its wider EU Pollinators Initiative. If you have an Oculus Rift or Oculus Quest headset, you can view it in VR, or alternatively you can use an internet browser on a computer to pay a visit (the guidelines say its too resource-heavy for mobile devices and indeed this writer's aging computer struggled too).
The experience is a similar one to other virtual museum visits (if you've never tried one, it's like using Google Street View, except inside a building) and takes up to 30 minutes. It tells a story conceived by Belgium-based author Yasmin Van de Werf that depicts Pollinator Park as a safe haven for pollinators amid a dystopian future where the insect population has been decimated, while also providing information on plants, flowers, and insects.
"We of course hope that we will never have to build a refugee camp for insects," says the press release. "That would mean that we failed to protect nature and pollinators. In the story, in 2050, Pollinator Park is necessary for growing food and preserving the last remaining pollinating insects in the wake of ecosystem collapse. We hope that this future never comes to be, and Pollinator Park aims to mobilize action now to prevent that future."
Architecturally, the development would be centered around a large flower-inspired tower that includes a glass elevator and double staircase, with an observation platform up top. From here, attached honeycomb glazed buildings host agriculture. Elsewhere would be some offices and residential areas.
This being a Vincent Callebaut-designed project, the sustainable design is very extensive too and would include CLT (cross-laminated timber) and recycled or recyclable construction materials. Power would come from photovoltaic arrays and wind turbines, and natural cooling would be promoted, while geothermal heating and cooling systems would help maintain a comfortable temperature.
It's all interesting, thought-provoking stuff, though to be clear, the European Commission has no current plans to realize it.
Source: Vincent Callebaut Architectures