Underwater Structures

Underwater Structures

There can be a disconnect with the ocean and water habitats due to location and access. But water dwelling plants and animals are crucial for our planet. With many under threat due to human activities, how can we become more connected to these ecosystems, and how can we help protect them. Many scientists and designers are using new technologies to create habitats to house species, and promote growth. These technologies and materials allow us to create structures which are made specifically for areas, which in turn allows for sympathetic systems which work symbiotically with the environment without causing harm.

MARS by Alex Goad

Environmental pressures have led to the damage of coral reefs worldwide. It is estimated that 50% of coral has died in the last 30 years and up to 90 percent may die within the next 100 years. This is caused by ocean acidification, river sedimentation runoff, destructive fishing practices, invasive species and coral bleaching caused by warming ocean temperatures as a result of climate change. Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth so it is important that we maintain these environments and protect species. Efforts to do this include underwater farms/nurseries where various coral species can be grown and eventually be relocated back to natural reef structure. These see small pieces of steel tables, pipes and concrete blocks. Although these can be successful, new techniques are being developed. MARS reimagines these farming structures as a three dimensional lattice that can be deployed from small boats and implemented by divers similar to an underwater lego set. This type of structure abandons the need for heavy-duty machinery which can be foreign to the environment, and that many communities that live near the reefs do not have access to. The modularity of the structures allow for the system to be built depending on the needs, goal and location. Each small unit has been specially designed with a surface geometry that encourages natural recruitment of juvenile coral and to make it easier for transplanted coral to take hold. The surfaces are 3D and then made from clay using a slip casting process. The hollow forms are then filled with marine concrete and steel reinforcement.



Symbiotic Spaces by Laurin Kilbert

Symbiotic Spaces provides habitats for animals in urban areas, creating a meeting point for different forms of life. Allowing for engagement in local wildlife in areas that are human dominated. Laurin Kilbert believes that bringing culture and technology into ecosystems will be crucial for a sustainable future and needs experimentation, searches and questions. This is why he uses 3D printing as a tool to create these intricate structures. The project uses local  clays as a bio-friendly way of building. Ceramic modules grow from the water to the ground and into the air, offering housing for water animals, smaller mammals, wild insects, and birds. The forms themselves are inspired by non-human architectures in the forest, informed by natural algorithms and the viscosity of clay. As every location has its own type of soil, the clay would ultimately look a different colour for each structure. Locations can be 3D scanned in order for a completely tailored product that works with the terrain of the landscape. While the use of local clays means that there is no threat to wildlife. This project is driven by very urgent questions about climate change and the decline of species in the world, and the need to live in constant symbiosis with other species.

Alex Goad
Sheree Marris
BBC Earth
Laurin Kilbert
Paul Knopp