Motuihe Island: Coalescence of Architecture and Geology

Jason Lai

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Motuihe: Geology Gallery

Although some countries are making efforts to prevent further global warming, the effects of anthropogenic warming have already begun and are expected to increase exponentially. One of these effects is a rise in sea levels, a change which will significantly alter the way that coastlines can be built on, and coastal architecture understood.

Historically, coastal inundation and regular flooding have only been perceived in extreme cases such as the famous aqua alta of Venice. This thesis seeks to engage with this newly vulnerable coastal condition that is steadily proliferating across the world. Furthermore, this thesis seeks to confront the flooding planes and eroding cliffs, proposing an architecture that engages this new instability in ways that will both protect but ultimately accept a capitulation to the rising water. In the extra years brought back from the encroaching tide this architecture will act as shield, and as prosthetic land before creating a synthetic landscape architecture with which to flexibly interact with the water.

The investigation into the receding edge condition and engagement with water highlights the potential of Motuihe Island – an island composed of compacted sediment, rather than a volcanic island. The physical museum itself houses the artefacts of island history. While the objects are representative of the island’s history, the architecture also modifies the island, turning it into a museum of itself. The architecture augments the landscape, protecting natural land forms, as well as incising the land, creating galleries from which the island becomes the exhibit.

Over time, due to prolonged exposure to the increasing harshness of weather and rising sea level, Motuihe Island will erode away. Through the steady detrition of the coastal edge, the erosion will slowly reveal the architecture that frames the island. The built forms will shield the island and impede the forces of nature, as the architecture becomes the island.

Jason Lai Section
Geology Gallery Section 1:200
Jason Lai Visitor Centre Section
Visitor Centre Section 1:200
Jason Lai Canal Section
Island Canal Section 1:200
Jason Lai Wharf
Canal Perspective
Jason Lai Maritime
Maritime Museum Perspective
Geo Persp
Geology Gallery Perspective