“The islands are ants and industrialized nations are elephants”.
This is how Teburoro Tito described unequal country contributions to climate change. This is what Kiribati is: a handful of atolls lying on the huge womb of the Pacific Ocean. It is an ant that has been paying the cost of elephants for too long. Distant and unaware pachyderms have hurled against it the bulimia of a ferocious, corrupted and swollen sea due to the ice melting. Kiribati’s elderly people look at this sea with bewilderment. They are hurt by the incomprehensible betrayal of what they used to consider a loyal friend, even more loyal than the Earth.
Today they show threadbare photographs of their island when the ocean used to be faraway from the houses. Differently, now clouds gather at the horizon, lead grey clusters rise and rumble at sunset. This is when the water and salt monster seems to shake off lethargy. This is when the ocean rises to claim the shores of the island.
Another coastal storm passes and leaves a trail of flooded plantations, destroyed houses and poisoned wells behind it. Kiribati is still Kiribati. However, it is a little more faded, a little thinner. Yet, resignation does not belong to these atolls. Surrender does not suit navigators’ descendants. In fact, in Kiribati there is one single word to define “people” and “nation”. Here, these two concepts blend together.
There is no Kiribati without its population. There are no natives without their island.
Fleeing is not an option. Leaving is not the solution. This is why Kiribati Floating Houses is needed. Kiribati Floating Houses is the competition aiming to give a future to the populations of Kiribati. Cantiere delle Marche promoted such initiative to design a resilient Kiribati. Its purpose it to create a new dwelling model in order to globally tackle the challenges of the rise in ocean levels and climate change.
The competition regards one the last most fragile paradises of our planet. It will provide architects an additional opportunity: redeeming the civilized world. Today, the dark eyes of the inhabitants of Kiribati look at the rest of the world with mistrust. However, the elephants that have instigated the sea can also stop it because hope has not abandoned Kiribati. Tides have not washed away the natives’ love of their island.
Kiribati is not destined to disappear and Yac thanks all the architects who will believe in this challenge.
Jinchul Yeon, Hanhee Park, Joseph Kim, HyoYoung Jeon
Wilhelm Scheruebl, Therese Leick, Philippe Jans
Martina Cesana, Alice Camilla Mariani, Amedeo Valente
Magdalena Maraszkiewicz, Iman Kimiaei, Maziar Mohit
Yixuan Zeng, Yang Tao, Qi Wan
Livia Sassudelli, Filippo Ferro, Tiziano Deromedi, Carla Colzani
Robert Newman, Jonathan Wren, Michael Mitchell, Alessandro Magliani, Harvey Cullis
Giuseppe Amedeo Carosini, Aleksandra Gojnic
Ehsan, Iftekhar, Nabila, Anindya
S. M. Ehsan Ul Haque Shawpnil, Iftekhar Uddin Ahmed, Nabila Ferdousi, Anindya Gaurab
Anna Bęza, Aleksandra Przywózka
Janet Ni, Priyanka Vashee
Chengling Hua, SIJIE JI
Kengo Kuma and Associates
David Chipperfield Architects Milano
Cantiere delle Marche
Rocco Design Architects
Politecnico di Milano
Fabio Alberto Roversi Monaco