As more rooftops start to double as farms and towers become artificial forests, it’s clear that hybrid objects, those that are part manmade and part natural, are a hallmark of 21st century design. Engineered Nature, a five-part series by Karrie Jacobs, explores the emergence of this new hybrid world, from a sensor-packed hill in the New York Harbor to manmade rivers in East Texas. You know how some people love to complain that the 21st century is a disappointment because we never got the jet packs and flying cars we were promised? I think the opposite is true. The 21st century is actually better than anticipated precisely because the Jetsony future dreamt up decades ago has failed to materialize. The real future—meaning our present moment—doesn’t look like a thing like those sci-fi images. Instead it’s a complex, often confounding hybrid creation of old and new, high tech and low tech, and natural and manmade. The exact spot where I started thinking about the differences between those timeworn fantasies and what has really transpired is a rooftop in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It’s an old place, established in 1801, and it sits on 300 prime East River waterfront acres where, until… Read full this story
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