advisors: cecil BALMOND & ezio BLASETTI
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
nam il JOE, laura e. LO, & mark t. NICOL: Formative to our design intent is a desire to use the plastic particulates that are concentrated in the world’s ocean gyres as a productive building material. To do so we have looked to existing technologies to develop a system that would allow us to extract these plastics, reprocess them, and form them into strands. These strands could then be embedded with additional materials increasing their tensile strength and tendency to bundle together.
We also looked to technologies and precedents that were helpful in building pockets of occupation within the resulting network of strands. While subsea structures typically use brute force to resist pressure, we wanted to find ways to manage buoyancy and mitigate pressure through a series of loose membranes.
The flows and gradients of intensity that exist on the ocean’s surface and throughout its depth offer a rich source of form shaping forces. Gradients of salinity, temperature, pressure, are formative to our design. Additionally, fluctuations in surface wind speed and direction, ocean currents, and magnetic anomalies are considered as part of this complex system of forces. The specific location of our project within one of the ocean’s gyres is a model of ocean conditions yet also somewhat anomalous. Building upon our understanding of the forces at play at the surface of the ocean, we created algorithms to mimic and transform those properties through the oceans depth to arrive at an architectural proposal. We understand that intensive properties such as pressure and temperature and light can have a real material impact on the quality and nature of the space that we create. Our design floats and grows beneath the surface, in a cross-section of water that maintains robust variability, eventually extending to the depths of the habitable threshold approximately 250 meters below.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
nJ, lL, & mN: What: Fluid Dynamics, Complexity Theory, The Magnificent System of the World’s Oceans; who: Janet Echelman, James Cameron, Manuel de Landa, Cecil Balmond, Frei Otto, Francios Roche.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
nJ, lL, & mN: Reading: A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, Informal, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, and Weinstock and Hensel on morphogenetic design; listening: Memory Tapes, SBTRKT, Florence and the Machine, Max Richter, NPR, Endless Pop; watching: The Abyss, Battlestar Galactica.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
nJ, lL, & mN: Francios Roche, L.E.A.D., Preston Scott Cohen, Oyler Wu, Heatherwick Studio, Article 25, and Geoff Manaugh.
Additional credits and links:
A big thanks to our studio instructors, Cecil Balmond & Ezio Blasetti.