The Freedom Machine

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"Go to the roof and get us some fresh cucumber!" orders the matriarch as the heat, calmly seeping through the living room vent, provides a respite from the harsh cold of the Jordanian winter. She rests her head on the couch as her son darts out. It's funny she thinks, that only a few weeks ago, they were struggling to afford quality produce and heating for their small apartment. Now, they have free access to a diverse range of organically grown fruit and vegetables, fish and a constant stream of renewable heating into their home. "I can finally save up to get that microscope Ahmed always wanted" she smiles to herself.

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The Freedom Machine is an aquaponic, urban farming system that provides the basic needs of food and heat to low-income households while reducing food waste and reliance on unsustainable heating sources, offering families more disposable income and a healthier lifestyle.

The project was inspired by three major insights:

  • Jordan has more than 310 sunny days a year

  • There is a significant amount of under-utilised flat roof space

  • Amman has the highest cost of living of all MENA cities, even surpassing Dubai

I was fortunate enough to work with the brilliant volunteers at Meezan and especially the mastermind behind the project, Bashar Humeid to assist in building the first working prototype of the Freedom Machine. This is the project that started my design journey.

Construction underway

Heating duct redirects heat from Freedom Machine into home in order to keep warm during the winter

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In collaboration with: Bashar Humeid & Meezan volunteers

Role: Assisted with building of first prototype

Year: 2010