Fluid Ground

by Isha Fathmath, M.Arch 2019
Advisors: Chris Falliers and Thom Faulders

Fluid Ground presents a conceptual framework to re-imagine the formal, material, territorial, and architectural performance of supporting human inhabitation in precarious lands. It opens new possibilities to rethink and explore how to engage with the instability of the physical ground. The speculation of ground includes various scales and aspects of constructed environments and architecture in dynamic response to environmental forces.

The project asks: How can an architecture build its own ground?

Sited at Kan’dholhudhoo Maldives, one of the islands that was destroyed by the 2004 Tsunami, this thesis proposes to explore ways in which architecture can create new landforms and domains where the ground is conceptually and physically in continuous decay. Through the reformation of land, the reestablishment of solid ground by using the leftover construction/ruins as armatures and the resettlement of the neighborhood, the human habitation, ecology, and architecture continues to evolve with the fluid nature of the site.

Situated in the year 2060 in a time where people continue to stay post sea level rise, the project operates on housing an extended family at a neighborhood scale.

The first design approach is to create micro-islands, through reformation of land by cut and fill strategy that would translate the site from a single designed island to its own archipelago — in turn, forming mini lagoons for water to pass through within the islands. The micro-islands are maintained to protect from daily and seasonal changes and allows for ecological and landform dynamism within the site.

The reestablishment of concrete ground and infrastructure is achieved by using the leftover construction/ruins as armatures and leveraging them as a foundation to build on. This way the ground grows higher and allowing the formation of a new typology for habitation that changes overtime. The new typology becomes an armature that choregraphs and gives potential to future dynamism.

After the resettlement of people and programs within the framework, creating new territories and domains, the project continues to evolve. The dwelling of a house gets replaced by a compound that could provide land for farming or agriculture while ecological growth continues to cultivate around the lagoon. The human habitation, environmental growth, and architecture continue to evolve with the fluid nature of the site.