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Elective Pamphlets

Autopoetic Architecture Tutor: Russell Hughes

The Promethean Ark

Goals: To created positive net energy To contain all the requirements of modern society to generate ‘emergence’ This includes: Medical facilities, research facilities, manufacturing facilities and also educational facilities including computer technology and the ability to communicate globally. To store goods for the purposes of trade and delivery of aid. To be self sufficient in terms of food for at least the minimum permanent running crew (60 people)

The Promethean Ark

Survival vessel for a post oil world

Patrick Kenny

In a post oil world where rising sea levels and climate change has lead to the abandonment of many cities great numbers of climate refugees seek new places to settle. Many people have gone back to the land and live a subsistent life. Many of the facilities and services taken for granted in the 20th century are no longer available. Research, education and human development has been hampered. It has not disappeared completely, however. Some small towns, cities and communities continue this advancement. One community driving this development not only helps to propagate human ‘emergence’ amongst its own people, but drives this development around the world, taking facilities, services and resources to coastal populations which may no longer have access to such resources. Just as Prometheus used his gift of foresight to deliver life bringing fire to the people of Earth the Promethean ark trades and produces vital resources, such as hydrogen fuel, to the remaining inhabitants of Earth.


Inhabitants: Expected average number of passengers on board = 280: 60 crew 100 for learning and research (including 5 full-time teachers and at least 50 children) 45 there for medical reasons (due to facilities and knowledge base, ship to act as a mini hospital) 45 there for short stopovers regarding research, trade and such 40 other (crew family, visitors, etc.)


Energy Requirements

Precedent: Pelamis P-750 Wave Energy convertor

Wave Power A typical two person household in Australia uses an average of about 7000 kWh of electricity a year equalling about 3500kWh per person a year. To provide electricity for the occupants of the ship, therefore, a minimum of 980,000kWh of electricity would have to be generated each year. Using 2 Pelamis Wave power generators more than double this requirement, 2,700,000 kWh, can be produced each year, easily covering any extra energy requirements of other onboard programs, e.g hospital.

Energy Requirements

Wind Power Precedent: Quiet Revolution 12

Precedent: SkySails

In case of an emergency situation where power is needed but there may not be waves or the Pelamis system may not be functional a back up wind power generator is also to be installed.

Just like in the pre-Industrial times wind will also be used in the assistance of moving the ship.

Unlike other wind generator’s the 12m high 7m diameter QR12 is both omnidirectional and produces very little operational noise. Although still in development it is expected to be in production by 2012 with outputs of around 50,000 kWh a year.

Based on calculations from SkySails tests on a windy day, around 25knots, the ship could travel at speeds of upto 5knots using nothing but wind power


Energy Requirements

Precedent: Hydrosol II

Solar Power

One of the biggest problems with sustainably produced electricity is storage. Batteries are heavy and inefficient and few other technologies can store electricity for more than a few days. A solution to this problem is storage in chemical energy. This can be done through the production of hydrogen from direct solar methods, such as those used in the Hydrosol II project in Spain. In this pilot project upto 3 kg of Hydrogen can be produced per hour. With reflector fields of approximately the same size on each side of the ship it is presumed up to 6kg of Hydrogen could be produced an, with the Earth having an average of 6 sun hours per day this equates to 36kg of hydrogen a day, or 13.2 tonnes a year. Although this is not very much when compared to average fuel consumptions today, considering that all the ships’ internal energy needs are being met through other methods, this hydrogen could be used to power the ship’s engines if there is the need of fast travel, it could be traded or given to those in need or stockpiled for future use.

Water Requirements Precedent: Megasal 10000

Solar Power

Utilising a solar desalination plant on the ship allows for up to 20,000 Litres of fresh water to be produced each day. With the average Australian using approximately 200L of water a day the requirements for the ark at full capacity, 280 inhabitants, would be about 56,000 L per day. Although this is much more than would be produced it is presumed that water on the ship would be recycled as well as rain water captured. The large storage holds of the ship could also be used to store fresh water for later use, in times when the ship maybe at less than the full capacity or there is significant rainfall When these considerations are factored in it can be seen that the fresh water needs of the ship could easily be met with just a 12m diameter desalination plant.


Food Requirements Precedent: OfficeFarm

Solar Power The food requirements of an average human being can be measured to be approximately 2,200 calories per day. A year’s supply of food for a population of 280 would therefore need to provide 224,840,000 calories. Taking an average calorie content of fruit and vegetables as 200 calories per kg (most common types are in the range of between 100 and 500 calories per kg) about 112,420kg of fruit and vegetable crops need to be produced each year. Using the OfficeFarm design as a precedent for agricultural production the total production area of the ship is about 3,000m2, or about 3/5 of an acre, as shown below. Deep soil garden = 28 X 25m = 700m2 = approximately 500kg of fruit and/or vegetables per year. Residential Roof Hydroponics = 8 X( 21m + 40m) =480m each side X 2 = 960m2 Hospital roof hydroponics = 50 X 25m = 1250m Residential Vertical Hydroponics = 70m X 0.2 X 2 = 28m2 X 4 floors = 112m2 Hospital Vertical Hydroponics = 60 X 0.2 X 2 = 24m2 X 2 floors = 48m2 Total Hydroponics land = 2,360m2 (3/5 of an acre)

Food Requirements Precedent: OfficeFarm

Solar Power

With typical hydroponic yields between 10 and 50 kg/m2 annually, depending on crop type and production process an average yield of 25kg/m2 can be taken The annual fruit and vegetable production can therefore be determined to be 500kg (from the orchard/deep soil farm) plus (25kg/m2 X 2360m2) = 59,500 kg of fruit and vegetables produced annually. Although this would supply only just over half the food requirements of the ship at full capacity, 280 inhabitants, it is expected that those on board for medical or research purposes could pay for these services and accommodation allowing the ship’s permanent residents to purchase the extra food required. It should also be noted that the 59,500 kg produced annually would be sufficient to satisfy 148 inhabitants, more than double what would be required to actually maintain the ship. This produce could also be supplemented with fish caught from the ship’s docking platforms or with the ships auxiliary boats.


Forth Floor Plan

Elective Pamphlets

Title: Elective Title Tutor: Tutor Name/s Pole: Advanced Architecture/Expanded Field/Urban Architecture Date: Semester, Year This and other documented examples of elective subjects run as part of the RMIT University Architecture program can be found on

Autopoetic Architecture  

Masters of Architecture Design Elective Tutor: Russell Hughes