Our project, Woolopolis, aims to consolidate the various functions and programs of New Zealand’s wool production into one dynamic community. Traditionally the programs associated with New Zealand’s wool economy - pasture, housing, shearing, production facilities and markets have been separated by both geography and context. This separation is no longer effective in a globalised world, so we turn to cohesion as a means of improving performance. Thus, Woolopolis takes the form of a complex network of programs - processing facilties at ground level, housing units lofted above, with the market functioning as the communal centre of the complex and mediating between the two. The architecture functions as a machine in which sheep can be fed, shorn, the wool processed and sold, all the while housing a diverse community of farm and factory workers, shearing hands, agricultural scientists, designers and investors integral to the wool economy.
Housing units in the complex are adjusted for optimal living conditions - north facing to make the most of daylight hours, and turned against predominantly westerly winds. The whole complex functions as a singular machine - solar panels on the housing units help to power production facilities, rainwater catchment areas release the architecture from dependence on the existing grid and help to mediate the considerable water-usage associated with agriculture. The entire complex is lofted above the ground to make storage space for hay during harsh winters.
Woolopolis is New Zealand’s traditional rural vernacular at hyperspeed - archetypal building forms, rugged local materials, constructed by local contractors and future dwellers. Woolopolis grows without the help of architects, and as it expands it does so on the condition and pace of the local context. Consolidating all functions of the wool production process into a singular eco-friendly complex, Woolopolis is a sustainable response to the motto, ‘think global, act local’.