New Malacovia - The Portable City

The design thesis, the portable city of New Malacovia, is the blueprint for a perpetually sustainable culture and an environmentally responsible city. Inspired by the narrative text of the lost Malacovian city from “The Dictionary of Imaginary Places”, the research followed the emigration of the city’s leader, a Nogai prince (and inventor) and his people during the Crimean War to a new settlement in the Danube River delta. The project extrapolates the inventions and urban ideas of the old city into programmatic, tectonic and environmental concerns for New Malacovia.

Born in Crimea, an island of rich pastures, the prince spent his youth in St. Petersburg. As a consequence, New Malacovia is a hybrid of rural and urban landscapes, acquiring distinct characteristics from both places. The city of New Malacovia is a vast prairie of windows, which mimic a flattened version of the main boulevard in St. Petersburg. The New Nevsky Avenue stretches to infinity in the river valley.

An intelligent recycling process selects appropriate urban and spatial ideas; environmental technologies and construction methodologies collectively evolve into the tectonic character of the city over time. Familiar everyday materials are used to perform unfamiliar architectural and urban tasks. The windows are the custodians of the city’s power, while the humble potatoes are used to harvest renewable energies. Pixel blankets of iron foil suspended on fine vertical sewing pins camouflage the New Malacovia. The city bed, a matrix of bottle corks, buoyantly synchronises with the Danube River, which in turn takes the weight of the entire city. The Malacovian community occupies the void created between the fake pixel-river and the real river.

The translation of old Malacovia into a new micro scale city explores the delights and efficiency of sustainable architecture and urban design. The new city aims to preserve the very essence of an extinct civilization and questions the portability of one’s ethnicity in today’s society. New Malacovia is the metaphor and inspiration for our future sustainable cities.