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The Terrarium

Part 2 Project 2012
Dan Hanna
Liverpool John Moores University, UK
What if an architecture of chronography & prognostication, of robustness, heightened flexibility, & a celebration of wear/ tear proved more sustainable than the current culture of economised, superficial ‘environmental’ posturing, and building life-cycles of as little as 30 years?

The project is set on a dynamically shifting coastline in Maryport in Cumbria, where the insertion of a new tidal barrage will impact upon the rate of erosion in an important place of special scientific interest. This onslaught of erosion - alongside the threat of rising sea levels - will mean that in as little as 200 years, this place and the rare natural vegetation it is home to will be lost, forever.

Through the architecture there is an opportunity, not just to preserve, but allow one to read the story of several points of existence which once coincided. 500 years in the future our successors can discover the derelict overgrown ruins of this place. An ecology which has evolved from the original plant species on the land can be discovered, interwoven through the exteriority of the building - created and encouraged to grow and self-sustain by the inhabitant. Within this ruin there are layers of the inhabitant’s personal archive of plant remains, seeds, books, measuring equipment, soil samples, journals, etc. in a protected environment which was once his home - a fixed point in time of the surrounding land now washed away. In this way, two points of reference within the natural world are established. The inhabitant’s way of life is also preserved and ingrained upon the internal spaces of the structure, however the corroded and battered exterior of the tower tells of the extreme weather conditions which is has survived, and the erosion it has suffered over the centuries. Eventually the building’s collapse begins a new story, an island to house the surviving seeds.

The project drawings map the existence of the building from conception to eventual demise. These are accompanied with a fictional narrative inspired by the work of J. G Ballard which encapsulates the project research, relays the design intent and conveys the poetry within the design.

Dan Hanna


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