One day, wind turbines may not only power residential units. They’ll be residential units.
That’s the thinking behind the Wind Turbine Loft, an architectural project that seeks to create housing for the hordes of technicians who will some day need to monitor the well-being of offshore wind farms. This group is poised to become an increasingly important component of a post-oil energy sector.
Inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe poem "The City in the Sea," mock-ups for the units show simple but spacious living accommodations complete with modern furniture, plants, natural lighting, and—of course—dazzling views of the heaving ocean and twirling turbines.
The project’s founders, Greta Dimitrova and Kiril Mandov of the Bulgarian architecture studio Morphocode, say that the current process of inspecting off-shore turbines for structural integrity and performance standards can mean turning off the turbines for several days at great expense. "The extreme height and the possibly short weather windows during which the whole inspection must be carried out make the task not only expensive but also risky for the safety of the support technicians," they explain over email.
As a counterpoint, "Wind Turbine Loft proposes a new type of dwelling that might respond to the need of constant monitoring over the wind turbines," they write. "Although, at that point the concept is more a utopian proposal rather than a feasible solution, we are looking forward to see how the offshore wind industry will develop in the years to come and what challenges it will present to designers and engineers."
Even though the project is utopian in its approach, it’s dealing with real trends. Europe’s wind energy supply is projected to increase by 100 times by 2030. Wind turbine blades are now the size of monster jets and will continue to grow. As we plant these unique landscapes far from shore, it’s important to imagine how people will occupy them, work in them, make peace with them, or even live in them. Morphocode’s vision is a rather peaceful one—"a secluded retreat in the vastness of the sea where time is marked by the rotation of the blades while the horizon line remains the only static element in this ever-changing landscape."