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The Water Squares of Merseyside

Part 2 Project 2008
Alex Dale-Jones
University of Nottingham, UK
Liverpool’s maritime history has led to an extensive continuous tidal record of the Mersey Estuary collected over centuries. The Water Squares of Liverpool examines the potential to exploit this data and the progress of the Tidal Stream Energy Industry by introducing a regional observatory for the commercial testing of tidal stream devices beyond the prototype stage in conjunction with associated research by the established local oceanographic facility. The Central Docks; a large area of derelict river frontage, to the north of the city centre has an existing historic wet dock framework in place capable of providing the necessary facilities for such an intervention.

A series of moveable bridge links are proposed along the existing island network of the river wall reconnecting the area to the city and reinstating the Observatory carrying out tidal energy research at the heart of the site. The Observatory facility itself provides a regulated testing environment for the optimisation of large scale tidal energy technologies. Positioned on Clarence Graving Dock Number 1, the scale of the 135m long water body enables close quarter examination of the prototype technologies allowing for improvements to be made and investigations as to any environmental impacts they potentially will have whilst also enabling collaborations between the developers and oceanographers.

Alex Dale-Jones

The final year of Diploma in Architecture (RIBA 2) at the University of Nottingham is undertaken as a thesis year, with all modules facilitating a self-generated design thesis, as a body of research leading to the rigorous exploration of architecture. Alex Dale-Jones’ thesis is based on his home city of Liverpool and explores a new typology arising from need to create a sustainable built environment. Alex has the ability to process and synthesis vast quantities of data and transforms this into a tangible future architecture. Within his Thesis Briefing Document he demonstrated a depth of understanding of the technology of tidal renewables. This was underpinned by his architectural education, which includes an Mphil in Environmental Design in Architecture. He researched the context of the Liverpool dock accessing the archive of Jessie Hartley drawings, taking inspiration from this brilliant 19-century engineer – including the clarity of his working drawings, which formed the initial bases for Alex three-dimensional exploration of this world heritage site.

Diploma is lead by Graham Farmer and facilitated by internal and external critics. Alex consulted with engineer Tim Macfarlane, particularly on the metal and glass arched covers to the Graving Dock. Students like Alex are a joy to teach – being receptive, able and diligent. His commitment to the design of high quality and sustainable architecture is demonstrated in this thesis.

Prof Michael Stacey
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