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Blurred Boundaries: Exploiting and Enhancing the Intertidal Zone

Part 2 Project 2014
Poppy Boadle
Cardiff University, UK
The Loughor Estuary has a tidal range of 8 metres - the second highest tidal range in the world. The shifting physicality of the coast is most apparent within the inter-tidal zone where boundaries that exist between land and sea are blurred beyond lineation. It’s significance in the context of the thesis is that the abundant biodiversity can provide a life-sustaining source of food and income.

Cockling began as a way for miner’s wives to make money. However a local cockler described how modernisation of the method has meant that a globalised and extensive collection, processing, packaging and distribution chain has left local markets heavily undersupplied. The intervention acts as a vehicle to re-connect local communities with this unique inter-tidal landscape, to re-invigorate a dying industry and promote the phenomenological characteristics of the place.

The connection with the land is enforced through the collection of further species from the mudflats, saltmarshes, and hedgerows beyond. During a symposium by the Welsh Government the importance of development was discussed in the economic progress of Wales as a food destination. In accordance with this a local café, high level restaurant and hotel are included.

The intervention is sited on a linear track, it’s orthogonal form sits in contrast to the organic pattern of the saltmarsh. The intervention breaks down normative boundaries and develops an integrated and symbiotic relationship.

The fragility of the landscape is reflected in the project’s light touch to the ground.
A dominant concrete diaphragm wall is sited along the track that encourages the re-appropriation of ecology at its foundation. Services sit within the wall that acts as a rigid and legible system onto which more porous, responsive and ephemeral design elements are attached. The liminal characteristic of place is enhanced through an architecture that blurs the visual boundaries between what is enclosed and open.

The proposal will remain off the grid and therefore relies on collection of rainwater and both wind and tidal energy to function. The wall will act as the primary component that will facilitate this through its form which controls, subdues, intensifies and moulds environmental conditions.

Poppy Boadle

Dr Wayne Forster
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