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 2019.


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