The 'Membrane' competition was
announced in 1999 and requested theoretical proposals for
a water based membrane architecture. The text below is the
written component entered into the competition along with
the design, which is viewable at the ‘images’
The Arc Of The Cove membrane serves
a number of purposes in relation to the shoreline. Ecologically,
aesthetically, optically and civically minded, it is a multi
task operation upon the 'patient' sea.
Located between the two extent
points of a cove, a chain of 20-ft keels made from recycled
plastic form an arc. Skeletally constructed from 'Unimould'
plastic it is covered with a translucent plastic skin, which
makes its presence ambiguous when sighted from the shoreline.
Each 'keel' is theoretically cut from a 20 x 8 x 8ft - freight
container's dimensions - an international unit of space. The
function of carrying freight across the sea is inverted to
filter industrial by-products from the same waters.
Akin to a huge chain of translucent
seaweed, the membrane sucks water from the ocean, feeding
it through a number of ion and neutralising filters (underneath
the body of the membrane) before spraying it back into the
atmosphere as a screen of mist across the horizon of the cove.
The harmony of the horizon conceptually arches over the 'lost
horizon' in the form of the rainbow - produced from the sprayed
water; the form of the 'Arc' conceptually mirrored by light,
as if projecting the arch into a vertical spectrum of energy.
Sunlight would be further utilised from poetic function to
a source of energy, driving the pumping and filtering systems.
Solar panels unfold out of the inverted walkway on the 'roof'
of the arc into an outboard skirt, dressing the chain with
its own power source
Viewed from the shoreline it
creates a secondary metaphor of the membrane as it effectively
creates a Gaussian blur between sea and the sky, a bridge
between distinctions. It also creates a bridge between points
of the landmass providing public access to those who wish
to both 'walk on water' and walk under the rainbow at the
Ecologically the Arc acts
similarly to its phonetically religious namesake, as it proposes
saving the shoreline life as well as the sea-life. Functioning
as a filter means dispersing solids such as bacterially clogging
algae, and treating - whilst hydrogenating - the pollutants
which bequeath unwanted industrial aquaform.