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CLIMATIC ACTUATORS – Boundaries & Warnings

Part 2 Project 2014
Rosie Seaman
University of Kent | UK
Climatic Actuators: Boundaries & Warnings

Shipwreck: Eleanor. R, 1939

Can one exploit the conditions that physically and perceptually shape the landscape in order to augment architecture?

The Isle of Portland has a long history of subtractive terraforming processes, which have led to extreme physical traces in its landscape. Human impact of the mineral industry has diminished the island strategically, whilst forces of nature have eroded the coastline opportunistically. Exposed to the power of the sea and the consequences of inclement weather conditions, the design thesis focuses on the repercussions of this to marine traffic and the fishing industry. The aim is to provide a system of warnings for predicting storms, whilst implementing measures to ensure the protection of marine vessels.

Anchored to specific shipwrecks based upon the Shipwreck Guide to Lyme Bay, disparate storm refuges aim to enhance the relationship between the sea and its boundaries: the sea floor, the water’s surface, the land and the atmosphere. Danger markers translate the form of the wreck as shipwreck ghosts; both a visual defence on the surface of the water for passing boats and symbolic tombstones of the disaster below.

Responsive to specific weather conditions and changing environments, climatic actuators endeavour to protect the marine traffic and it inhabitants. Each of the refuges respond to the specific conditions directly linked to the date and month in which the ship was wrecked; such as tide heights, wind speed and pressure, thus are unique to each situation. Whilst static and monumental during calm weather, storms expose the spectacle of the architecture. Mooring docks rise open and whistle their warning, as ballasts fill with storm waves, allowing boats to enter the building. Low pressure pipes steam as the water level rises as indication of an incoming storm, whilst individual refuges snap into upright positions to protect their inhabitants and provide an illusion of the safety of land.

Focused on one of the three shipwrecks, the design explores the conditions of steamship Elanor. R, wrecked in 1939, situated on the edge of the Portland Ledge within the shifting sands of the Shambles Bank.

Rosie Seaman

Ed Holloway
Peter Ayres
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