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Manufactured Landscapes

Part 2 Project 2013
Leanne Stamp
Northumbria University, UK
There is now a consensus between scientists that the earth has entered a 6th mass extinction event, with thousands of species becoming functionally extinct and many more predicted to follow. Geologists believe that the stability afforded by the holocene has been prematurely replaced by a man-made geological epoch known as the anthropocene brought on by global warming and the pollution of the biosphere. This new period is, and will be, characterised by instability. Mankind witnesses the effects of global warming through the failure of crops, drought and famines, as well as weird weather events etc. However, it is in our Oceans that the real damage is taking place. Agricultural run-off leading to the acidification of the seawater and rising sea levels has destroyed marine habitats throughout the world.

The effected ecology of the Tees Estuary, where this project is located, is consistent with the wider marine biosphere. Heavy industry has dumped millions of tonnes of pollutants into the river and the North Sea; the pH of the water in dangerously low and many marine animals are dying out. The effects of global warming on this locale are exacerbated by coastal erosion. Billions of tonnes of Earth are falling into the sea on an annual basis, in the North East of England alone. Homes, historic sites, SSSIs are all being lost at a rapid rate to the sea.
The scheme as proposed is a combined research facility and artificial reef system that reduces the erosion of the headland. It houses researchers that investigate aspects of the marine environment who gather data on the changing conditions. Concrete blocks are used as ballast for the facility and they act as an artificial reef system. These blocks also capture iron slag as aggregate from the local steel foundries. They are coated with proto-cells- a new material technology that traps the carbonates and other pollutants (responsible for the acidification of the sea) into a calcified crust. This new reef system encourages the biodiversity. The research pods above are prefabricated for ease of assembly, brought to the site by a barge and attached to massive vertical cantilevers. The pods can move up and down these columns using traction and buoyancy, depending on the tides. In high seas the building can close down for protection. The reef creates a bay behind the facility where fish and molluscs can be grown to help remediate the pollution. Once this is stabilised the bay will be used as a commercial fish farm.

Leanne Stamp

Tutor(s)
Mr Paul Jones
2013
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