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Building an Architecture for Climate Change

The Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab evidences the importance of the artistic imagination for developing an architecture adequate to the planet’s climate future.

Underwater views of ecological substrate prototypes, with marine invertebrate habitats (all images courtesy of Architectural Ecologies Lab)
Underwater views of ecological substrate prototypes, with marine invertebrate habitats (all images courtesy of Architectural Ecologies Lab)

Supported by the California College of the Arts’ (CCA) Center for Impact, and set to launch late summer in the San Francisco Bay, the Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab — a contoured, bean-shaped white buoy, approximately 13 feet by 8 feet long — looks like a cross between an ice floe and an alien pod. In fact, the buoy is a human-researched structure whose design evidences the importance of the artistic imagination for developing an architecture adequate to the planet’s climate future.

The Float Lab is the product of a cross-disciplinary collaboration between the Architecture faculty and students in CCA’s Architectural Ecologies Lab (AEL), scientists at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Benthic Lab (BL), and fabricators at Kreysler & Associates. CCA faculty members Margaret Ikeda, Evan Jones, and Adam Marcus founded AEL in 2018 as, in Ikeda’s words, “a research lab that could link speculative architectural thinking with real-world prototyping and scientific expertise.”

View of Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab
View of Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab

But the conceptual foundations of the Float Lab, and the larger AEL, date to 2014, when Marcus, whose background is in computational design, had his studio architecture students explore “how to optimize more diverse [marine] communities using geometry.” The students’ topographical sketches for artificial marine habitats — ranging from stalactite-esque spikes to curved bridges — catalyzed “a cycle of ideation and testing” with biologists at BL. Those iterative tests showed that ridged and hilly gradients, rather than flat surfaces, are most conducive to marine animal biodiversity.

Read on HERE >>>> Source: Hyperallergic Building an Architecture for Climate Change

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