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« projects Megafarm

2004   Wood, glue, display-slides a.o.m.   235 x 135cm

Model made for the architecture-manifestation, Archipuncturale 2004.

The design had to address the present problems of rural communities in the Netherlands. The countryside is seeing major changes in function and appearance. Farmers are increasingly looking for other sources of income. The way people live together has changed too. It has become more individualistic, while scaling-up has meant that people are less dependent on one another.

I wanted to build a sort of superfarm in which these features would be incorporated to the point of absurdity. The design includes a pig farm, because this has become one of the most extreme methods of farming in the Netherlands—highly industrialized and based on mass production. It is the most diametrically opposed to the more informal way farmers used to work. Nowadays the farm, with its animals, is regarded in the same light as a dangerous chemical plant—as something that has to be screened as far as possible from public view. This is typical of the Netherlands, where every hazard, every frayed edge, every sign of decay has to be designed out or regulated away. In my design the pigs are there in the pig unit, but you can no longer hear them or smell them. They can be observed behind glass, as if they were in a laboratory.

There are several dwellings for old people incorporated in the model; the entrance is made from doors that the residents brought with them from their old homes. The entrance gradually transitions into the entrance to the museum. Concrete shafts in which the pigs live run through the building. The sties literally and figuratively support the whole building. Then there is a restaurant, ordinary flats, holiday flats, jetties and a funeral parlour. The funeral parlour is an  hommage to an old slowly forgotten tradition, when farmers used to have the obligation to take care of the funeral of there neighbours.

The structure is largely made of wood, and the residents can add elements to the building themselves, just as most farmers added wooden barns and outbuildings to their farms. In this building, residents stay in contact. The old people can go on pottering about in the yard, they can do things in the museum and so on. The farmer himself becomes a mega project developer and the farm a sophisticated pig and entertainment factory. An absurd and grotesque elaboration of something that is actually already happening.