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Symbiosis: Environmental and Technological Futures

Part 2 Project 2010
Josh Woods
Daniel Dobson
John Carroll
University of Liverpool, UK
The power station has disappeared from our inner cities and with it all sense of connection between use of power and demands placed on the Earth due to consumption. Utilising renewable energy technologies in the form of osmotic power generation, the scheme is envisaged as a solution to urban power requirements for Europe’s fastest growing city – Inverness - in 2025.

Requiring fresh water to be sourced from along the River Ness to the south and saltwater sourced from the Moray Firth to the north, a walkway and pipeline links significant loci within the city and connects dislocated communities en-route. The contribution industrial infrastructure has played on our urban landscapes has been overlooked for some time and this scheme questions how they can be integrated into a city once more to provide prosperity, sustainability and strengthen identity. As such, the scheme re-thinks the typology of the power plant altering it from a single monolithic entity and extends it throughout the entirety of the city for the processes of power generation, and subsequently the impact of man’s reliance on energy to be clearly visible to the populace, altering societal philosophies regarding sustainability and energy usage. At the junction of these sources, the power generation area becomes not an ‘off limits’ power edifice but an expansion of facilities required within the city, incorporating bars & cafe’s around the marina, and a lido, utilising the only waste product from the osmotic power generation process, water so clean you can swim in it.

Urbanity and nature share a mutually beneficial relationship, with the power station blurring the boundary between the natural and urban environments, creating habitat, encouraging biodiversity and research and insight into the neighbouring ecological world, whilst energy is created from a naturally occurring molecular process. The scheme shares an intimate connection with the natural landscape, emphasising the geological features that legitimise this highland society and give meaning to a city ‘at the mouth of the Ness’.

Josh Woods
Daniel Dobson
John Carroll

A large number of the world's cities are on a junction where river meets coast. This project speculates on the utilisation of the natural assets in these locations - fresh water and salt water - through the process of osmosis between the two, utilising a specially designed semi-permeable membrane to create clean energy on site in an urban location - Inverness. The osmotic technology proposed is in its infancy and requires vast square meterage of membrane to provide the head of pressure in osmotic tanks required to drive a turbine. The membranes, however, work just as effectively when rolled into tubes and these energy generating forms, along with the other key elements of power provision - pumps and turbines, can be situated along the length of the river, freeing the process of energy generation from the bulky mass of the traditional power station, providing a series of new architectural elements in the landscape.

The waste product of this process is brackish (slightly salted) water, which can be utilised for swimming, hence the provision of a public lido at the ‘climax’ of the facility.

This is what a thesis project should be about – clean energy provided through an existing natural process whereby the corollary in the built form facilitates the ‘knitting’ together of a city in an exciting and accessible series of structures that are both functional and sculptural.

Mr Jack Dunne
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