The 12×12 project grows out of the powerful story of a North Carolina pediatrician, Dr. Jackie Benton, who ten years ago gave up a luxurious home to live in a 12’ by 12’ off-the-grid house and permaculture farm. The World Policy Institute used this idea to develop a project with the Queens Botanic Gardens, which has grown to an international network.
A creative team, comprising well-known NYC-based architects and artists including Betsy Damon, David D’Ostilio, Simon Draper and Christy Rupp, decided that the project must include all the key substances of living lightly: water, energy, and food. After careful planning, they decided on the following: two 12’ x 12’ structures will take the form of a book-like house that consists of living walls based on the DNA double-helix weave-like design; a rain-collecting upside-down umbrella rooftop with a waterproof layer and root barrier; a moisture retention product (such as a rainwater collecting solar panel rooftop); a drainage system and filter fabric made of flow forms that channel rain water into a large container, to be used as the main water source; an erosion cloth; and a space inside the houses that will be open to the public during the daytime (to be securely locked during the park’s closed hours). Once erected, the space will encourage interaction through slide-out walls that will prompt participants to read/write/reflect about their individual houses and our planetary house and share their visions via daily web posts and social media. Readings from the book Twelve by Twelve and conversations will be held adjacent to the installation, where artists will facilitate interaction and imagination.
Check out the 12×12 project tumblr – in particular have a look at the ‘impact’ section.