An Oyster-vention

2014 (Part II Masters course, University of Westminster)

An Oyster-vention

PART II MASTERS PROJECT // Oysters play an integral role in this proposal, which is designed to address two key issues at the site in Swanage Bay: polluted fracking water and coastal erosion. Onshore, oysters are employed in filtration reservoirs to clean contaminated water produced by the (proposed) fracking well at nearby California Farm Quarry. "Retired" oysters are moved from the reservoirs onto offshore reef islands, which serve to attenuate wave power and thus reduce coastal erosion at the site. A modular oyster tile is central to the proposal: the tiles are made in a workshop on site and filled with adult oysters bred in the hatchery. These tiles are installed in the onshore filtration reservoirs, and later on the offshore wave-attenuating reef islands.

The building's materiality is inspired by the oyster's shell, which grows by building layers of calcium carbonate. Mineral accretion is a key theme, with salt from the sea spray being deposited on metal mesh cladding onshore, and the biorock "natural sea concrete" system employed on the reef elements, allowing calcium carbonate from the sea water to grow on their structures along with the oysters.

An existing coastal path is intersected and augmented by the proposal, encouraging tourists to engage with the processes carried out by the building.