This eco-community concept is a direct analogy to the full-scale Aquarius marine colonies, using not only the same likely construction method but also the same design concept. In some ways it represents a blending of principles from the Organica and Solar Circle concepts, providing some organic design characteristics and being able to merge with natural landscapes while still enjoying the benefits of freely-adaptable functional space.
Tectonic architecture is intended to produce structure mimicking natural land forms while fully employing the volume of that structure as a functional building –or in this case a completely conjoined community habitat. With this Tectonic eco-village –as well as with the full-scale Aquarius colony– this would be achieved by use of a superstructure formed from a set of reinforced concrete decks with flowing contour shapes defining the ‘landscape’ of the habitat as a series of garden-topped stepped terraces, producing an appearance similar to the terraced mountain farms of Asia and South America. Just as with a contour map, the ‘slope’ along any portion of the structure is determined by the relative width of terraces one-to-the-other while the contours of the deck can flow freely to produce an overall organic form. Habitable space would be created inside the perimeter edge of each level, where a conventional but modular concrete slab and column interior structure would provide generic space for outfitting by retrofit components attaching to both floor and ceiling. This would be enhanced using a formed-in-place socket grid facilitating attachment of modular framing, partition walls, and finishing components. There would be no portion of the structure of fixed or absolute function. All use of space would be determined by retrofit structure all
owing to easy adaptation and evolution despite the reliance on massive concrete structure. Large open interior volumes would be formed as atriums which, by using the same ‘contouring’ in a concave slope, can have a similar organic shape and flow into long undulating caverns. Unlike the full-scale Aquarius colony, the Tectonic village would use only single storey levels, at least until it reaches a point of transition to arcology development. (on Aquarius, a default level height of several storeys would be used, separate retrofit mezzanine systems used to divide this into single storey levels for articulation of the level perimeters)
An infinite variety of forms is possible with this basic design strategy and structural system and, by the use of modular core components, free evolution and expansion of the structure would be possible –though not as free as with the much lighter systems of concepts like the eVillage owing to the relatively large mass of reinforced concrete. Communities may employ simple arched general plan shapes, or create artificial valleys, or more uniform radial domes and mountain-forms. They may seek shapes that are very overt like works of abstract art, or they may seek to fully blend the community into the natural landscape. Finishing of the exposed portions of structure –since most of it would be covered in garden- could be simple and Modernist in aspect or could employ elaborate facades that mimic, at the more human scale, many other styles of architecture from ancient stone architecture to ultra-futuristic free-form organic forms to mimicry of natural rock strata. An endless variety of novel design features could integrate with this type of structure, including all sorts of water features from ponds to multi-level waterfalls and ‘waterwalls’, large area window portals into the interior atriums, ‘floating’ planar glass enclosures that cover portions of the slope of the structure, and all kinds of articulation of the deck perimeter edges to create balconies or small private courts and atriums. Early on, though, the cost in materials, labor, and space of very elaborate facades coupled to a high pace of evolution in the community would favor the more minimalist designs with simpler lower profile shapes. Unlike other community concepts noted in this section, the Tectonic concept has no real limit to the potential scale of its development and it could serve as a ‘proto-arco’; a community structure with the potential to evolve into an arcology over time. Indeed, this is why this type of structure is effective for the full scale Aquarius and would also serve as the basis of the Arcology Earth project.