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Kogami - Tsunami Alert Community

Part 2 Project 2011
Ben Devereau
Elvira The
University of Liverpool UK
The catastrophe of the 2011 Japanese Tsunami occurred after the start of this exploration. The tragic revelation that even massive civil engineering projects could prove impotent against such powerful natural events redoubled the original intent to research other possible and more effective strategies which might be derived from a study of natural systems, operating on the basis of an incremental decrease in incident wave power over the simple expedient of building massive walls.

The prototype scheme is situated in the Sumatran city of Padang, where the occurrence of a massive tsunami is sadly a question of when, and not if.

The project has explored the technology of cathode accretion, a process in which calcium carbonate suspended in seawater is continuously accreted onto conductive skeleton forms in the presence of very low electrical charge. It is the goal of this proposal to utilise this technology in two separate but connected systems.

Firstly, the proposal is for the construction of new and robust warm water coral reefs to enhance the local economy and reduce the power of waves approaching the coast; and secondly, the ‘growing’ of a system of construction elements that might be assembled into coastal structures which would operate as everyday community hubs -but which would also have a structural profile making them uniquely resistant to the damage a tsunami would cause to other building typologies.

Using forms derived from naturally robust ecologies, principally mangrove forests and warm water corals, as well as drawing from the effective passive strategies evolved by vernacular architecture, the new typology is designed to be locally designed, manufactured, assembled and maintained. That it has an unusual form is not architectural wilfulness, it is a product of this combination of new materials and studies of proven effective strategies. As such the project can be characterised as development of new technologies suited to their environmental and social context, and not the uneconomical imposition of high technology.

Ben Devereau
Elvira The

Mr Jack Dunne
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