Monday, January 24, 2011

A little piece of the Rock...

Ok so here are a few photos surrounding the basis of my design so far, although most are on a foggy day in June. This photo is of Newfoundland's east coast within the area of Cape Spear, a national historic site and the most easterly point in North America. The site is about a 20 minute drive from the capital city of St. John's and is a huge tourist destination particularly in the summer months during iceberg and whale season.

My design is to create an observation deck that will extend out from the cliffs above the ocean. Every year the area is witness to a few deaths or missing persons as a result of people getting a little too close to the edges of the cliffs or, as the land slopes down, to the rocks where the waves of the Atlantic come crashing in. Hopefully an observation deck extending from the cliff will help to alleviate this problem. The premise or biomimicry of the design comes down to the vegetation that lines this coastline and somehow survives on the edges of the wave and wind beaten cliffs. Specifically, I'm looking at the root systems of these plants to understand how they manage to stay structurally stable while growing perpendicular to the cliff face itself. So far I've looked at a couple of species, mostly within the grass and fern families of coastal vegetation. The root systems of these plants are surprisingly shallow yet widespread as they attach themselves to the edges of rock or squeeze within the minimal amounts of soil that might exist between them. Along the cliff face are ancient volcanic rock or, further down the shore, granite. The rock looks as though it was sliced but over thousands of years the waves have softened its edges. However, the cliffs still have many grooves and cuts where soil and nutrients collect making it an ideal habitat for these coastal plants. It's in these locations that I've been studying the differing existing plant types as well as their root systems.

More to come!

1 comment:

  1. It's awesome that you're responding to a specific and interesting site condition! And i also appreciate that you're trying to relate your system to the natural responses that exist specifically on that site!