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Michael Archer

Reclaiming the Manhattan Flood Plain with floating autotrophic urban tissue

Synthetic Nymphaeaceae


Synthetic Nymphaeaceae RESEARCH

2

PRACTICE

18

PROJECTION

22

[1]


PROTOTYPE The Tonle Sap Basin is a site which may serve as a prototype for the future of the developed world. The people in this flood plain of South central Cambodia deal with a radical scapeshift twice a year. In flood seasons their environment is drowned in as much as 30 feet of water. Their ability to harness these seemingly catastrophic events productively is where the research interests lie. Their economies, methods of dwelling, modes of transportation, strategies for farming and fishing, and redistribution of property boundaries all change with the rising of the waters. The incredible transformation is unique to these people. Their actions and apporach are backed by a philosophy of cooperation with, rather than a fight against, the forces at work here

[2]


[3]


TONLE SAP BASIN - DRY SEASON 0mi

[4]

40mi

TONLE SAP BASIN - MID SEASON 0mi

40mi


TONLE SAP BASIN - RAINY SEASON 0mi

40mi

TONLE SAP BASIN - FLOOD SEASON 0mi

40mi

[5]


SECTION FISHING BOATS

FLOODED SHORE

20m

STATIONARY NETS

10m

0m

TONLE SAP BASIN - MAY

RICE IRRIGATION CHANNEL

[6]

LAKE EDGE

When boats sit in water they bend the horizon line with buoyant properties that allow them to float. When piers thrust out from land they turn this line in plan into a flexible armature that is able to be bent around our expanding population. There is always a connection between water and a bounding surface. It is this property that allows water to fill in every conceivable portion of space when it floods lowland or to wrap a buoyant boat hull that sits within its datum. We are able to push on the line between us and water, to make the boundary flexible. When water floods the Tonle Sap Basin it prompts changes in section. What was once organized in three dimensions is now brought up to a common datum. Water is the great equalizer here, forcing all that is buoyant up to a new horizon. By utilizing various sectional moments of their new surroundings they are able to anchor into soil below, harvest the water between, and occupy the surface above. The diversity of interventions and their ability to migrate in section is key to this study. The drawing above is a typical section through a flood condition on the shore of the lake. The water datum has established itself as a new ground plane. The drawing below this shows the switch from wet to dry as flood waters subside. Here we see the reestablished earthen ground plane. The bottom drawing begins a discussion of the variety of forces acting on the water in these particular sections drawings. The bypass of the water entirely through the pole construction of houses, the displacement of water by boat hulls, and the occupation of water entirely by the natural resources are diagrammed in this instance

20m

10m

0m

TONLE SAP BASIN - MAY


SETTLEMENT

FLOODED GRASSLAND

FLOODED BRUSHLAND

RICE PADDY

RICE IRRIGATION CHANNEL

RICE PADDY

[7]


OCCUPATION The Tonle Sap Basin requires various modes of occupation. These modes respond to the fluctation in ground conditions that occurs annually. Buoyant properties are harnessed to allow structures to float or sink. The act of floating allows the village to accomodate various moments of the water’s section.

Modes of occupation Objects and structures occupy the surface and section of both ground and water, their modes of occupation varying based on their situation in these mediums.

Structural modes Both ground and water planes require linear surfaces to maintain support, be them horizontal or vertical.

[8]


Ground occupation Sectional profiles of objects occupying static stable ground do not rely on structural tethering or a limit to their non-existent movement along its surface.

Surface occupation + Formal strategies Sectional profiles of all objects that move along ground datums morph necessarily to occupy the new water datum.

Subterranean structural network Members with greater vertical dimensions are forced deeper underground at their fixed end than those who have shorter vertical distances to maintain. ntain.

[9]


SCAPESHIFT The Tonle Sap is the largest body of freshwater in Southeast Asia. Each year the shores of this lake, located in central Cambodia, become inundated with floods that change water levels by up to 30 feet. The rising waters flood over a fifth of the country and are visible from space. What is perhaps more interesting than the cataclysmic change that occurs each year is the population of people that live along the lake, embracing this radical scape shift every year. The population is able to adapt their way of life to both wet and dry worlds as their ground plane osculates beneath them annually. When the waters recede they plant and harvest rice in the new rich silt deposits on the lake bed and shore. When the waters return, their entire village is transformed. Rising with the waters, their houses become mobile, floating residences from which they fish and harvest the bounty of the lake. The deployment, the grand shift that occurs under their feet as earth and water osculate annually is met by a complex coreographed shifting of the village. The people who were once arranged on the shorelines farming the dry lake bed rise with the waters and spread out in an organized fashion to blanket the new lake with their presence. The gradient of movement is diverse, taking place in stages as the shoreline repositions itself throughout the flood months. The multitude of invention that exists in conjunction with this environmental spasm is remarkable. What is understood about this adaptability, transformability, and flexibility of the people is that embrace of the natural forces is what drives their productivity. When the setting changes so too must the people. This is critical.

[10]

TONLE SAP BASIN 0 ft

500 ft


[11]


RECLAMATION The people of the Tonle Sap village unfold themselves onto the surface of the water from the shores that they occupy when the waters rise. This epic reclamation of ground is intrinsic to their way of life. By addressing what augmentations must take place to change their built world each time the lake floods they are able to alternate between water and dirt as ground planes. In one situation they establish themselves as being removed from the horizon datum entirely and, when waters rise, they fully inhabit it. It is their compulsion to extend the limits of their ground plane onto water that is so fascinating. Buoyancy is the mechanism that drives the success of the Floating Village’s adaptation. Buoyancy is an inherent property that allows matter to straddle the horizon line between air and water. By doing so, we establish a material relationship to ground familiar to our prior terrestrial limit. The ability to float has become a science in and of itself. Form and material are the parameters that determine how we may establish a physical presence on water. The networked relationship between the people of the village expands along with their territorial spread. Circulation, transportation, communication, trade, economy, institution, education, government services, social interaction, and access are all restructured. The matrix of systems does not get rebuilt entirely, it is simply reorganized and restructured. Adaptation is key if these people are to productively generate income and food for their families. The population of the lake lives on less than $94 a year. If they are to allow flooding to choke their productivity they will not survive.

[12]

TONLE SAP BASIN 0 ft

500 ft


[13]


FLOODING As seas rise urban coastal territories will need to prepare for a confrontation with water. Current tactics attempt to combat water, holding it back through constructed barriers like dams, levees, and dikes. When these barriers fail they create catastrophic situations for people living behind them. To best understand how design for flooded urban environments may be productive it is first important to understand how current tactics fail. The conditions of interest are those that currently either occupy or define the edge tectonic between populations and urban areas. The question of developmental sustainability is raised here. How high can we build the walls we have made? How long until the force they resist becomes unmanagable even for this construction typology? The coastal urban condition of the future will be one that interfaces with water rather than combats it. In the next 90 years we will experience a sea rise of about 40 - 80 cm. globally. This will create 332,000,000 climate refugees. The Netherlands is authroing legislation that will reserve 100,000,000,000 euro for the construction of dike systems over the next 190 years. 11% of The Netherlands will be underwater by the year 2190. The danger posed by these tactics is the project’s antithesis. The urban flood plane is the future condition for New York. The city will adapt its infrastructure and building typology to accomodate water productively, y and safely. sustainably, [14]

Antarctica loses roughly 50 gigatons of ice each year. The deterioration of its mass might be reduced if the idea of synthetic tissue were applied to hold the mass together, allowing re-freezing to take place.


SPILLWAY DAM

SEA WALL

EARTHEN LEVEE

Dams with spillways allow for an economy between resisting side and protected side to occur. There is rarely structural failure because of the ability to release pressure when a limit is released (via the spillway.) The water that moves is used to generate energy.

Sea Walls represent the prediction of limits when it comes to flood and storm surge. The walls are designed to be taller than the average high tide within their site, but are also enhanced to resist water rise during storm surge and severe weather. When failure occurs protected areas are flooded, property is lost, and the wall is damaged.

The most dangerous edge typology crrently is the levee or dike. These barriers create a fixed, solid edge between low-lying coatsal territories and the sea. When failure occurs the entire territory behind the levee is flooded, putting the zone under as much water as it was resisting.

[15]


FLOODING AS A GLOBAL ISSUE Sea level rise will premanently displace an estimated 332,000,000 people by the year 2100. Many island nations including Tuvalu and The Maldives will be erased entirely. 11% of Bangladesh will be underwater, 12% of the Netherlands, and large portions of Egypt, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nigeria, and the United States. Many of these areas are urban ecologies that, if designed well for the future, can sustain their existence long into the days where cities and water coexist. We have 90 years to address the issue before we lose homes for half a billion people.

Tonle Sap Village

Regions at risk for catastrophic floods in 90 years

[16]

New Orleans, LA


[17]


[18]


object translations 11” x 11”, diigital drawings

left: datum translation drawings 11” x 22”, chalk on painted vellum right: datum translation drawings 11” x 22”, chalk on painted vellum

[19]


[20]


POLYHEDRON GROUND SETTING ELEV.

POLYHEDRON WATER SETTING ELEV.

The research phases informed a particular process of making that was targeted at placing built work in water. Through models and drawings there was an attempt to discover the potential embedded within bodies situated within the datum between air and water; the horizon. Drawings by hand explored the exodus of objects towards and and a way from a datum.

[21]


New York City

New York City

Water +0m

Water +2m

2mi

Manhattan

2mi

Manhattan Queens

Queens

Brooklyn

Brooklyn

New York City

New York City

Water +8m

Water +12m

2mi

Manhattan

2mi

Manhattan Queens

Brooklyn

[22]

Queens

Brooklyn


FLOODED LAND MASS OF NEW YORK BY 2100

[23]


New York City Topogaphy 2mi

Manhattan Queens

Brooklyn

[24]


New York City Topogaphy 2mi

Manhattan Queens

Brooklyn

Site vicinity - partial submersion

[25]


SYNTHETIC URBAN TISSUE [26]

submerged urban fabric grows to reclaim ground as amphibious urban ecology


AQUATIC ESTUARIES

ECOLOGICAL BUFFER

submerged green space contains new natural wildlife populations

underwater natural filtration wall cleans contaminated water

[27] SYNTHETIC URBAN TISSUE

SYNTHETIC URBAN TISSUE

submerged urban fabric grows to reclaim ground as amphibious urban ecology

submerged urban fabric grows to reclaim ground as amphibious urban ecology


URBAN FLOOD PLAIN As sea levels rise coastal cities will either adapt to the changes in their ecosystems or they will be uninhabitable. The new urban ecology of New York will be one analogous to a flood plain. The gradual change in topography from south to north on the island of Manhattan means that tides and storm surges will drastically change which parts of the city are under water throughout the seasons. The new urban flood plain will be the ecosystem that New Yorkers will find themselves a part of in the next 190 years. This new flood plain will bring with it an overwhelming number of issues. Building typology, circulation, transit, public space, building methods, material concerns, health issues, migrating aquatic ecosystems, storm surge flood, seasonal flooding, inundation by daily tides, reduction in dry land, loss of property, and population growth are among some of the concerns that the design agenda aims to respond to. The prototypical moment through an edge condition here shows how the urban tectonic will be a sinuous, interconnected tissue rather than a series of isolated built moments that accrue to make a city. The need for flexible infrastructure along with structural static infrastructure means that a synthesis of floating and fixed moments will be intrinsic to the successful deployment of a design.

GREEN SPACE ELEMENTS

FLOATING PUBLIC SPACE SYNTHETIC URBAN TISSUE

FLOATING SURFACE PANELS

FLOATING SURFACE UNDERSIDE

ECOLOGICAL BUFFER

ECOLOGICAL BUFFER HOUSING

[28]


ALTERNATIVE ELECTRICITY SOURCE

POROUS WATER FILTERING SKIN

COLLISION-RESISTENT SIDE

FIXED PUBLIC SPACE

FIXED PUBLIC SPACE

HYDRO-DYNAMIC GEOMETRY

RESPONSIVE LOWER FLOORS

FIXED SURFACE EDGE

LOAD-BEARING FOOTING COLLISION FOOTING

[29]


[30]

Occupational shift

As water rises it will slip through topography and flood the lower 1/4th of Manhattan. Because of this, there must be flexibility to the organization of built space in plan to occupy water as it fluxuates.


[31]

Flexible structural network

The nature of a building’s site and program, for example, must be flexible due to the irregularity of its ground occupation. There is networked dynamism when buildings are part of the same structural network on water.


Synthetic Nymphaeaceae