Copyright 2024 © The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
A.K.A. The Curious Case of the House Hippo
July 01, 2067: Toronto, a city of 13 million people, becomes the host city for an international ‘World’s Fair’ to commemorate and critique its own bicentennial.
Five years after the 2067 Expo, Toronto has cemented its status as the testbed for subversive and anti-boring aquatic architectures. New ways of inhabiting the city emerge to reconcile past misdeeds with a new-found optimism for the future.‘Ontario, Archipelago’ is positioned as a housing commune born from this future, whereby aquatic architectures are explored and developed in tandem with a speculative future national identity.
Akin to Montreal’s Habitat ‘67, the project aims to address the challenges of a rapidly changing world. In response to a growing housing crisis in Greater Toronto as well as centuries-long tensions involving indigenous communities, these new homes propose an ethical alternative to private land ownership across Canadian cities. The House Hippo and its associated extensions, accessories, and pavilions, exist to critique the widespread and popular models of suburban living while tacitly indulging the habits of an increasingly consumer-driven world.
Referencing Canadians’ collective memory of the 1967 Montreal Expo, the first part of the film documents and explores miniature models with a kitsch and campy optimism.
The first model explores Canada’s entangled history with the landscape. Each mechanism of infrastructure and urbanism has left a scar in the earth. The second is a satirical re-appropriation of Canadian tropes to create an aesthetic order.
The final film explores the aquatic canal commune that has developed in the wake of the 2067 Toronto Expo. The neighbourhood, while bold and absurd in its architectures, still maintains an air of quaint suburbia.
A twenty-first-century cathedral to aquatic domesticity. Both a manufacturing centre and ceremonial space, the temple celebrates the birth of new hippos in the harbour. It also acts as a boathouse to maintain, upgrade, and modify the housing units.