Buoyant Ecologies Oakland

Fall 2015, Fall 2016
Instructors: Adam MarcusMargaret Ikeda, Evan Jones

As cities across the globe attempt to adapt to the uncertain implications of climate change, there is little doubt that rising ocean levels will have a tremendous impact on coastal cities worldwide, including those that line the San Francisco Bay. This studio begins with the premise that cities must actively develop new approaches to their constructed waterfronts, and that architects can play a significant role in designing new alternatives to the status quo.

The focus of the studio’s research is Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland, a recreational oasis nestled within the expansive Port of Oakland and with spectacular views of San Francisco and the Bay. This site holds great historical significance as both the former terminus of the transcontinental railroad and the Oakland Naval Supply Center. The park is dedicated to public environmental education, and the student projects for this site build upon this mission by proposing an ecological research and public education center that straddles the edge between land and water. 

The proposals incorporate research into ecologically-optimized fiberglass substrates that, through variable geometries, provide diverse habitats for marine life above and below the water. The studio collaborated with fabricators at Kreysler & Associates and marine ecologists from the Benthic Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories to understand how fiber-reinforced polymers can be designed and fabricated to perform ecologically. This research builds upon work from the 2014 Buoyant Ecologies studio, and from a series of full-scale prototypes that have been installed underwater and monitored by the Benthic Lab team of ecologists.


Buoyant Ecologies Studio, Fall 2016: Fernanda Bernardes, Gina Bugiada, Bryany Burke, Madeline Cunningham, Taylor Metcalf, Mrnalini Mills-Raghavan, Georine Pierre, Stephany Rattner, Carlos Sabogal, Arash Sedaghatkamal, Nicole Van Malder

Buoyant Ecologies Studio, Fall 2015: Rafael Berges, Trishala Umesh Chandra, Kuan-Lun Ryan Chen, Jared Clifton, Keith Edwards, Kenneth Hu, Vaama Joshi, Susan Lopez, Shirin Monshipouri, Betty Nip, Min Joo Noh, Omar Soliman, Susan Wing, Ka Ki Yam