Suitcase Archipelago

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Suitcase Archipelago

Marwan Mohammed

PROJECTS 5/29/2019

Project Title: Suitcase Archipelago

Design/Research: Marwan Bamasood, Eric Soifer

Year: 2018

Location: Dhanghite Island, Maldives

Supervising and Consulting: Margaret Ikeda, Evan Jones “Architectural Ecologies Lab, CCA”

*This project won the Merit Award at the AIA Los Angeles 2x8 Design Exhibition on May 8th, 2019.

Architect's Description


The primary goal of Suitcase Archipelago is to allow complex, configurable life scenarios. We are not seeking to impose a particular culture, but to provide a set of parts that create some autonomy for those receiving them. The kit of parts is flexible, space planning is relatively open, walls are variable. The goal is to create a frame for community, where modules can adapt to modern family configurations, expand for new generations, and provide the freedom to be isolated. Our system, plus its location on the sea, allows us to rethink housing as a linear phenomenon. Instead of centralized, clustered rooms, we have the possibility of stretching these out. This allows for different relationships within the family, and different relationships to the community.



Suitcase Archipelago also seeks to implement an economic model. First, wastewater treated in our project is transformed into bioplastics that are turned into goods. These goods can then themselves become an engine of economic growth. Their production and sale also acts as a base layer for a new economy that can replace part of the economy of islands if it becomes drowned due to sea level rise. These bioplastics have the added advantage of being biodegradable, and they can increase fish yields when added to fish food. The sustainable nature of these plastic goods keeps them from contributing to future trash islands and reduces strain on existing waste infrastructure. Second, our scheme also creates piazzas, which are intended to nucleate commerce. These can function as nodes of economic exchange that will survive the submersion of part of the Maldives.

In Closing

We seek to create a housing and community model that is inspired by the plight of the Maldives but can be adapted globally. This nation may be the first real victim of sea level rise, but they will not be the last.


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