Revery Architecture unveils DUCkT at the London Design Biennale

Canadian design studio Revery Architecture Inc. presents DUCkT, a temporary installation representing Canada at Somerset House for the 2021 London Design Biennale.

A play on the words “duct” and “duck”, the DUCkT installation seeks to explore the reliance of our cities and buildings on mechanical heating and cooling systems.

Duckt Tiff © Henry_Woide

Revery Architecture says that the installation’s inspiration came as a self-reflection of our dependence on indoor micro-climate systems in the building sector—often at the expense of the wellbeing of our planet. The team was struck by the overwhelming reality of current climate change predictions, and the urgent need to address the rapid growth in inefficient and carbon-intensive buildings.
“The world’s urban population is expected to surpass 6 billion by 2050 and an estimated 2 billion new homes are projected to be built over the next 80 years. Considering that heating, cooling, and ventilation in buildings currently account for almost 12 percent of global CO2 emissions, it is estimated that by 2050 mechanical systems’ energy use will grow by 80 percent, generating billions of tons of CO2 in the atmosphere. To keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5°C, current emission levels – including those generated from heating and cooling – need to be dramatically reduced, even with the growth in population and new buildings,” says Revery.
At the DUCkT installation, visitors are greeted by two massive metal air ducts crossing over the gallery. The exaggerated ducts are made from reflective golden aluminum to induce a sense of awe and splendour as well as to trigger personal reflection towards a common threat. DUCkT forces the viewer to duck beneath, touch, hear, and feel the objects responsible for our thermal comfort, experiencing both scenarios: the desirable warmth and coolness, linked to the unpleasant acoustic pollution and physical discomfort—as an analogy for our current way of building.

“In representing Canada at the London Design Biennale, Revery aims to further London Biennale’s Artistic Director Es Delvin’s goal of catalyzing deeper conversations around issues of global importance while raising uncomfortable questions to address complex challenges and provoke change in the right direction,” said Venelin Kokalov, curator of DUCkT and Principal of Revery Architecture.

Duckt Tiff © Henry_Woide

Revery’s design spotlights Canada’s particular reliance on HVAC systems due to our climate, and the necessity to question their viability in the future. The firm states that there is an immediate need to answer pressing questions: Are we over-using technology just because we can? Are we willing to accept varying indoor temperatures that respond to seasonal changes? Can architecture fundamentally shift away from its reliance on mechanical systems and the vast energy currently required to make buildings habitable? Should we continue to rely on these systems to create comfortable internal micro-climates at the expense of our planet?

DUCkT will be exhibited at Somerset House during the London Design Biennale from June 1-27, 2021.