Welcome to our Blog

Click here to read the what this blog is all about.
Click here to see a listing of posts arranged by category.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Artificial Underwater Ruins

Continuing the theme of the previous post, I read an interesting article in the February 2011 issue of National Geographic, called Relics to Reefs. The article discusses the practice of using obsolete objects like subway cars, ships or tanks to create artificial reefs along the coasts of various places. It states that
"pretty much anything you can sink has the potential to become an artificial reef. Even officially sanctioned ones are often created from distinctly odd materials, including decommissioned subway cards, vintage battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, oil drilling rigs, and specially designed beehive-like modules called Reef Balls."
Once sunk, these objects begin to attract marine life and may develop into coral. Plankton attracts small fish, the walls create shelters that draw other animals, predators come to prey on these dwellers, and soon a new habitat exists. Still, many variables determine which will succeed: "depth, water temperature, currents, and the composition of the sea bottom."

This practice is similar to our ideas about reusing ruins to create new functions. Just as new growths form on the husk of the old, sunken objects, so too we hope to create new functions around and upon our ruins, and in doing so, to create a vibrant new living area.

One of the most amazing things the article describes is how a small number of people are choosing to be cremated and to have their ashes mixed with cement and cast as part of an underwater garden, called Neptune Reef.
"The people laid to rest here must have been familiar enough with the processes of the ocean to know that these placements would soon be engulfed by invertebrate life, that damselfish would one day be laying eggs and cultivating patches of algae on their bones, so to speak."