Membrane Competition



Membrane Competition

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’ section.

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 same time.

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.