“In Estonia, buildings are responsible for around half of the nation’s energy consumption and about a quarter of the country’s carbon footprint. With comparable numbers in the built environment in different geographic regions, architecture’s response to the climate emergency through alternative design, construction and operational models is critical. How can microbial fuel units, anaerobic digesters, bacteria tanks, green cultivations, algae units and other building elements be retrofitted to existing housing units and the building block as a whole, so as not only function as engineering infrastructure, but also as inhabitable space? What are the aesthetic questions of infrastructure and how can such questions be instrumentalized to foster a creative design process?
Operating at three distinct scales, the Circular Block competition invited participants to consider Tallinn’s Lasnamäe district as a territory to investigate design strategies that allow urban blocks to produce food for its inhabitants, generate required energy partially off the grid, use waste for generating energy or products, increase urban density using demolition waste, or implement blockchain technology for locally managing energy or material resources, among other possibilities.”