Dead... and Back is a survival horror Role Playing Game. The Anarchy Zones is its official setting - aliens, reanimates, and the ruins of 2055 America.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lone Star Architecture

Not all arcologies are singular giant towers - most are more spread out, but still pack the population of a large town in a dozen buildings. There are in fact dozens of plans for the concept, and the NEST project was a notable aberration in being of standardized form. Arcology is a portmanteau of "Architecture and Ecology" and the true constant between all the designs is an attempt at minimal ecological foot prints and harmony with the surrounding environment.

Lone Star is a sample of a planned community built into a few dozen buildings. It was scheduled to be finished in time for the 220th anniversary of the battle of the Alamo (Spring 2056) though delays would probably mean the ceremonials would occur several years later than intended.  This would also be the time where it received its proper name. Technically Lone Star is only the name of the construction project - the actually name of the arco was to be put to a vote and be chosen by its new inhabitants at the opening. Population was expected to be between 50 and 80 thousand residents, plus a seasonal influx of several thousand more for its university campus.

The primary structure was officially the "Tri-part Globe" but is often jokingly called the crippled spider. Three legs in canted at 30 degrees from vertical stretch up about 25 stories, and then form a platform. Extending eight stories both above and below this point are large geodesic domes offering an excellent view of the surrounding areas as none of the other structures in the complex go above thirty meters.

As with the massive bases of the NEST, this was to be mostly a commercial and shopping destination to attract investments. Much of the central sphere would have been hydroponic farms for exotic plants destined to become special dishes at five star restaurants.

Spreading out in a radial pattern came a trio of curved habitation blocks, each representing a large rectangular apartment building, though only numbers one and two (North and Southeast) were complete, with the Southwest block just a foundation and a few walls. These are fairly low, but wide structures and often derisively compared to the appearance of housing projects from the 60's and 70s. However, their interiors are surprisingly open, the apartments quite a bit larger than old "efficiency" units (comparable at least to high-end hotel suites in many cases) and include a number of internal community areas, such as libraries, gyms, and a swimming facility.

(Actual layout of these buildings subject to change if I find some interesting buildings to model them on. My sister might be an architect, but I'm certainly not.)

A second ring consisted of three more buildings at opposite points (ie South, Northeast, and Northwest) for industrial purposes. Amongst the plans were fiberglass fabrication shops, ceramic kilns, and a medical supply factory - though these were subject to change, and for the most part, these are a series of large open spaces waiting to be partitioned and have their plumbing completed.

Further from the complex are the beginnings of some of the other planned elements of the community. A local college and technical school was the first order of business, and short of desks, the building is ready for use. An amusement park was also completed by 2050 in a push to monetize the project as soon as possible. Further expansion of the facilities to include casinos or additional living space could begin as soon as the original complex began to reach capacity.

The utilities system of the complex is quite unusual. Most arcologies were built in concert with alternative energy plants like solar towers, wave generators, or thermal taps. However, due to other projects in the area, the need for expansion, and the presence of a nearby military facility that would need a large amount of power, the planners justified the construction of a three unit nuclear fission plant. (Efficient fusion continuing to elude scientists despite earlier claims). Even more unusual about this choice, was rather than the now standard fluidized bed or pebble bed reactor of most civilian facilities, the design would instead be based on the smaller and more energy dense type of reactor used aboard submarines and aircraft carriers. In turn, this meant that one reprocessing facility could handle both the civilian and military fuel, as well as survey as a training facility for naval technicians, and allow for parts commonalty between the shipyard - as well as  get military financing for some of the arco's features. Although there is are reasons these style plants are not built elsewhere, there was surprisingly little protest, and two reactors were online by 2050, while the third was scheduled for fueling in 2052.

Each reactor was rated at approximately 1.2 MW, with a 15 month working cycle at high out-put. Aside from some stress tests, the plant has  never needed to be used at their full capacity, ensuring that there is enough fuel on hand for at least a decade of further operations. The current residents of the Lone Star Facilities find that electricity is one of the few resources they have in abundance.

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