The Buoyant Ecologies project, led by AEL directors Adam Marcus, Margaret Ikeda, and Evan Jones, was recently awarded a $25,000 Impact Award by the Center for Impact at CCA. This year’s theme of the annual competition—"Invention and Innovation in Creative Re-use, Upcycling, and/or Sustainable Materials"—sought solutions from the CCA community that address climate change through inventing environmentally friendly materials or by transforming consumer behavior. The 2019 Impact Award is generously supported by Thurlow Washam, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and the Center for Impact’s ImpactFund.
“The Impact Award recognizes the ingenuity and vision that emanates from thinkers and makers in the CCA community,” says JD Beltran, director of the Center for Impact. “The 25,000 USD grants serve as seed money to incubate projects that hold the promise of long-term impact in addressing social and environmental problems.”
The Buoyant Ecologies project synthesizes architectural design, marine ecology, and digital fabrication to develop resilient waterfront structures that simultaneously enhance biodiversity and mitigate coastal erosion. The team will test 3D-printed prototypes for ecological substrates—using calcium carbonate and advanced composites—on the newly deployed Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab, a scientific laboratory anchored off Oakland’s Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. Building on five years of research, the team is working in collaboration with the Benthic Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, manufacturer Kreysler & Associates, and the Port of Oakland.
“This project began as pure speculation—the notion that floating buildings could provide ecological benefit—and has grown into a robust, multidisciplinary research initiative,” explain the project leaders.
In addition to Ikeda, Jones, and Marcus, the winning Buoyant Ecologies team consists of CCA adjunct professors Alex Schofield and CCA Architecture students Vishnu Balunsat, Sean Cunningham, Joshua Eufinger, Viviani Isnata, Mithila Jagtap, Cassady Kenney, Cristian Laurent, Peter Pham, and Maria Ulloa.
Jurors for the 2019 Impact Award included Kristen DiStefano, associate director of Atelier Ten; George Henry Hines, founder and CEO of GHH Innovations; Deborah Munk, director of the Artist in Residence (AIR) Program at Recology; CCA associate professor Tim Smith, CCA MBA in Design Strategy program; and Mawuli Tugbenyoh, former commission liaison to the mayor of San Francisco.