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Oceanic Observatory

Part 2 Project 2009
Christopher Jackson
Liverpool John Moores University, UK
My aspirations for this project were to explore in depth, the reality of globalisation and how we can adapt such a costly commercial activity in line with a greener future. In light of much research I have become far more concerned about the consequences of a warmer planet and even more harrowed by the lack of attention the debate receives. Architecture cannot afford to feign ignorance toward climate change for it makes too great a contribution.

I wanted to make a contribution to a culture of Architecture which responds to the environment, not by levelling and disregarding it but by integrating with it, visibly and invisibly. Working in tandem with the daily transport of cargo, the building provides a testing facility for the continued research and development into the deployment of sea-based renewables while offering a scientific platform for oceanographic research. Deployed throughout the building are a series of gardens which explore the agricultural concept of Permaculture. Visitors journey through the various mechanical and scientific activities that occur within the building while learning about the delicate natural construction of the forest canopy.

I intend the building and its spaces as a collage to suggest how it may be possible to live and work in a manner befitting a carbon neutral society. We cannot simply abandon a way of life and cripple a global economy but through understanding and rational thought we must adapt to an agenda in line with the protection of our environment.

Christopher Jackson

Through inventiveness, Chris’s work engages with that essential of topics – Climate Change – about which much is said, little is done and much is denied.

Re-thinking ‘Town’

Chris led a group during research and design stages for a zero net carbon town for 50,000 north of Liverpool, adjacent to the deep water shipping channel and to sensitive sand dune ecologies. Intimate knowledge of the land involved, critically structured cultural and scientific sources and precedents, and inspired design suggests that ‘the idea of a town’ remains valid currency.

Re-thinking ‘Port’

Chris’s specific project explored the economic heart of the town, the port, interpreting the tradition of the public pier, a route two kilometres in length, engaging with the transfer of goods, and the other machine and non-machine events located along its length. Port, marine research, energy generation and educational events are interspersed with gardens at the outer end of the pier.

Re-thinking ‘Landscape’

Apart from allowing for oncoming sea level rises, the project is positioned amongst brutally low tides, long-shore drift action, extreme wind speeds, and ferocious wave action. A dramatic ‘Piranesian’ landscape emerges, founded on sound technical design, a building where we are able to better understand the machine and the scientific.

In his own words, the work shows that, “Concept and idea needn’t be abandoned to the mercy of Carbon Neutrality.”

Prof Doug Clelland
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