Public Sediment for Alameda Creek

AIA California Council Urban Design Merit Award, 2018
Selected for Resilient By Design bay Area Challenge, 2017

CCA Faculty Adam MarcusMargaret Ikeda, and Evan Jones in collaboration with SCAPE Landscape Architecture, Arcadis, Dredge Research Collaborative, UC Davis, Cy Keener, and TS Studio

 

Public Sediment was developed for the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, a design competition that brings together local residents, public officials, and local, national and international experts to develop innovative solutions to the issues brought on by climate change in the Bay Area. CCA faculty Adam Marcus, Margaret Ikeda, and Evan Jones participated in a multi-disciplinary team on a year-long research and design collaboration focused on the Alameda Creek watershed in the East Bay. The design proposals built upon an earlier research phase and were presented to the public in May, 2018.

Our team proposes that sea level rise adaptation must happen upstream. Public Sediment for Alameda Creek unlocks the creek to feed downstream baylands with sediment and sustain protective tidal ecosystems as the climate changes. Tidal ecosystems are protective infrastructure that cushion the urban edges of the San Francisco Bay. Yet the Bay Area’s tidal ecosystems—its marshes, mudflats—are at risk. These systems require sediment to grow vertically in response to sea level rise – without sediment, our baylands will drown. Low sediment supply and bayland drowning represents a slow but devastating scale of loss that threatens ecosystems, recreational landscapes, and places hundreds of thousands of residents and the region’s critical drinking water, energy, and transportation systems at risk. To creatively adapt to this challenge, our team has focused on sediment, the building block of resilience in the Bay. Our team proposes to actively intervene in this ecological transformation by Designing with Mud and Making Sediment Public.

Public Sediment for Alameda Creek is a proposal to address the challenge of sediment scarcity along the vulnerable urban edges of Fremont, Union City, and Newark. To bring sediment to the baylands, we look upstream to Alameda Creek, the largest local tributary that feeds the Bay. Our proposal aims to redesign this waterbody to create functional systems that sustainably transport sediment, engage people, and provide habitat for anadromous fish. Our proposal moves beyond the tidal edge to span four geographies (uplands, creek, baylands, and bay).

We propose to Unlock Alameda Creek and link the creek with the baylands. The proposal provides a sustainable supply of sediment to baylands for sea level rise adaptation, reconnects migratory fish with their historic spawning grounds, and introduces a network of community spaces that reclaim the creek as a place for people, building an ethos and awareness around our public sediment resources.

The AEL team led the development of a central component of the proposal, the Living Levee. The Living Levee is a multibenefit strategy for revetment design that integrates ecological principles within an interlocking concrete module that helps limit erosion and support the surrounding ecosystem. Holes of variable size provide spaces for vegetation to grow and establish root structures in the soil, while also providing cover for fish along the channel edge and variable, multiscalar habitats for animals and humans that enhance biodiversity and support the local food web.

 

Project Credits & Collaborators:
AEL Team: Adam Marcus, Margaret Ikeda, Evan Jones, Georine Pierre, Carlos Sabogal
SCAPE Landscape Architecture (team lead)
Arcadis
The Dredge Research Collaborative
TS Studio
UC Davis Department of Human Ecology and Design
UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences
Cy Keener

Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab

Architect Magazine R+D Award, 2018
Exhibited at Designing Material Innovation exhibition, 2017
Selected for Catalyst Program, Buckminster Fuller Institute, 2017

Project Leaders: Adam MarcusMargaret IkedaEvan Jones

The Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab is a prototype for a new kind of resilient coastal infrastructure. It merges expertise from design, advanced digital fabrication manufacturers, and marine ecologists to imagine a floating architecture of the future that can exist productively with its surrounding environment.

This prototype, which builds upon three years of applied research at California College of the Arts, consists of a floating breakwater structure that incorporates an innovative, ecologically optimized fiber-reinforced polymer composite substrate with variable topographies that perform both above and below the water. Underwater, the hull’s peaks and valleys vary in size to provide habitats for different types of invertebrates. Water flowing along this underwater landscape brings plankton and other nutrients into these “fish apartments,” helping to promote ecological diversity. On the top, the topography is engineered to channel rainwater and produce watershed pools for intertidal or terrestrial habitats. The vessel includes attachment fittings on the exterior flange to suspend future prototypes and test wave attenuation potential of the optimized substrate.

The prototype will be deployed in San Francisco Bay in 2018.

 

Project Credits:
Project Leaders: Adam Marcus, Margaret Ikeda, Evan Jones
Design Team: Taylor Metcalf, Georine Pierre, Jared Clifton
Marine Ecology: Benthic Lab, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories — John Oliver, Kamille Hammerstrom, Daniel Gossard
Fabrication: Kreysler & Associates — Bill Kreysler, Josh Zabel
Naval Architecture & Engineering: Tri-Coastal Marine — Andrew Davis
Project Sponsors: Kreysler & Associates, Ashland Reactive Polymers, Autodesk Workshop at Pier 9, Port of Oakland

Optimized Ecological Substrates

Project Leaders: Adam MarcusMargaret IkedaEvan Jones

The focus of this ongoing research collaboration is to develop and monitor contoured, digitally-fabricated fiber-reinforced polymer composite substrates that, through geometric variation, provide upside-down hills and valleys that can serve as habitats for invertebrate animals. These underwater topographies are optimized to create multi-scalar habitats that encourage settlement of different invertebrate species that contribute to the biological diversity of the marine ecology.

The research challenges conventional notions of “fouling”—the unwanted accumulation of marine life on the underside of floating structures that is commonly seen as a nuisance. Instead, this project seeks to invert that premise, proposing that optimized cultivation of fouling communities can promote broader ecological biodiversity, attenuate wave action, and reduce shoreline erosion, thereby helping to mitigate the effects of sea level rise on coastal communities. Potential applications of this highly performative material include floating structures, seawalls, and other erosion control structures.

Since 2014, the collaborative team of designers, ecologists, and manufacturers has produced nearly two dozen prototypes that have been installed underwater for monitoring and documentation. The success of these prototypes has informed the design and construction of the Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab, a larger prototype that will be deployed in Oakland harbor in 2018. 

 

Project Credits:
Project Leaders: Adam Marcus, Margaret Ikeda, Evan Jones
Marine Ecology: Benthic Lab, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories — John Oliver, Kamille Hammerstrom, Daniel Gossard
Fabrication: Kreysler & Associates — Bill Kreysler, Josh Zabel
Project Sponsors: Kreysler & Associates, Ashland Reactive Polymers, Autodesk Workshop at Pier 9, Port of Oakland

Public Sediment - Research Phase

CCA Faculty Adam MarcusMargaret Ikeda, and Evan Jones in collaboration with SCAPE Landscape Architecture, Arcadis, Dredge Research Collaborative, UC Davis, Cy Keener, and TS Studio

Public Sediment is one of ten projects selected for the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, a design competition that brings together local residents, public officials, and local, national and international experts to develop innovative solutions to the issues brought on by climate change in the Bay Area.

Public Sediment proposes to invest in ecological infrastructure and its protective value. Yet the Bay area’s ecological infrastructure—its marshes, mudflats, and coastal edges—are at risk. The slow and methodical subsidence of the Bay’s tidal wetlands is a catastrophe of tremendous proportion not just for ecosystems, but for communities. Combined with sea level rise, this subsidence exposes hundreds of thousands of residents and the region’s critical drinking water, energy, and transportation infrastructure to tremendous risk. To creatively adapt to this challenge, our team proposes to focus on sediment, the building block of resilience in the Bay.

Public Sediment proposes to actively intervene in this ecological transformation by designing with mud. We propose to connect the uplands and the lowlands with a series of sediment actions. We will harvest and retrofit dams, unlock tributary channels, and test new methods of mud placement that use currents to effectively move sediment in the Bay. But this is not enough. We must make sediment public. To do this, we propose a series of connective paths, outdoor floating mud rooms, and sensing stations, that link vulnerable neighborhoods with the Bay and engage youth in monitoring of the environment—visualizing climate change in their backyards.

We propose three scales of Public Sediment, each framing a distinct action to catalyze social and ecological resilience, with mud, in the Bay. These projects are called: Pilots for a Future Baythe Bay Cushion, and Unlock Alameda Creek.

For more info on the final design proposal that Public Sediment presented at the conclusion of the competition, see this link.

 

Project Credits & Collaborators:
Buoyant Ecologies / AEL Team: Adam Marcus, Margaret Ikeda, Evan Jones, Georine Pierre
SCAPE Landscape Architecture (team lead)
Arcadis
The Dredge Research Collaborative
TS Studio
UC Davis Department of Human Ecology and Design
UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences
Cy Keener

Antarctica Poetica

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Professor Leslie Carol Roberts
Chair, CCA MFA in Writing Program

My ongoing research and writing work focus on how we place ourselves in a landscape and what we do when we get there – with a particular lens on places deemed wild and free. While my first Antarctic book looks at the region through the lens of the humanities – The Entire Earth and Sky: Views on Antarctica (Nebraska) and starts a conversation about how we know and understand The Ice through story – subsequent books will broaden and expand on this lens. I have lived in and around the Antarctic for more than three months and have documented The Ice and the people and their activities through extensive photography. My expanded Antarctic project, Antarctica Poetica looks equally at the political science of the region as well as the poetics. There is perhaps more political writing than poetic writing about the region which is, in and of itself, bizarre. The peculiar way humans identify with the poles – since the time of the Ancient Greeks – continues to fascinate me, from stories of how the poles are “holes” leading to worlds within worlds, to global political regimes that allow any traveler to make landfall on the continent and to travel about without passport or currency. Late 20th century political protest and legal work to create a commons of the Antarctic and the recent moves to create a marine sanctuary in the Ross Sea equally drive my inquiries, as does my own obsession with the materiality of human exploration through ephemera such as postcards, brochures, books, and other printed matter.

Oakland Public Education & Outreach

In the spring of 2017, the Architectural Ecologies Lab team conducted a pilot public education ‘plug-in’ curriculum module with Skyline High School in Oakland, in which 85 public school students participated in ecological design exercises that built upon the Buoyant Ecologies research at CCA. This work occurred at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, a recreational area developed by the Port of Oakland as a public resource dedicated to environmental research and education. 

 

Project Credits:
Project Lead: Margaret Ikeda (CCA), with John Oliver and Kamille Hammerstrom (Moss Landing Marine Laboratories / Benthic Lab)
CCA Graduate Student Instructors: Fernanda Bernardes, Georine Pierre
Marine Ecology Instructors: Benthic Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories - Christine Mann, Imani Thomas
Curriculum Coordination: Y-PLAN
OUSD Educators: Conor Carroll & Megan Johnston, Skyline High School, Oakland Unified School District
Sponsorship: Port of Oakland Community Investment Fund