The Right to Breathe
Gypsies and travellers experience some of the poorest health outcomes of any group of society. Significantly more likely to suffer from long term illnesses and respiratory problems, they are considered the most socially excluded communities in the UK. Believed to have originated from North India as the Dalits, they have migrated across Europe battling against exclusion and displacement. Transgressing borders and living beyond the state. Mobile homes which were once comprised of organic materials and pulled by horses, now consist primarily of cheap synthetic materials, and are mobilised by car engines. At the start you would smell dust, and now it is an amalgamation of VOC’s from synthetic materials
Formaldehyde seeps from much of the engineered woods that give our homes comfort and security, forming the residues of Industrialisation. However, far from being an atmospheric condition of a far and distant future, elevated formaldehyde levels are part of the ordinary chemical ecologies of the modern mobile home. This layering of materials and infrastructural violence manifests in what Michel Murphy describes as “sick building syndrome”, where instead of office spaces making people sick, now caravans are making people sick.
Working directly with Irish travellers, the projects explores what it means to design for a community that was once nomadic and is now fixed. A series of “hacks” and interventions on the caravan and site scale form a closed-loop infrastructure for growing. Facilitating life beyond the singular caravan, the primarily goal is the bio-remediation of poor air environments through the growing of hemp and resurfacing of homes.
A continuous connection between the tunnels and caravans’ facilitates this movement of fresh air and egress between spaces. The cultivated hemp phyto-remediates the land through aeration of soil, promoting the growth of plants and removing toxins from the land. These plants then in turn bio-remediate the air.
A series of layers that make up the façade vary in porosity, creating different concentrations of air and light within the space where required.
The entire proposal is constructed for the people and by the people offering the minority community the right to breathe, something which has long been taken away from them. A fundamental human right.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE CARAVAN