Kirsten Davis

Year 1 MArch

Saline Landscapes

Lagoons and Saltworks,
Rye Harbour, UK

Lagoons and saltworks at Rye Harbour intends to serve as a prototype for local construction at saline intersections to manage soil salinity and naturally harvest the industrial potential of salt.

The latest IPCC report predicts the sea level to rise by up to 1.2 metres by 2300, which poses the threat of land loss to coastal communities, compromising soil quality and salinity as the sea water seeps through the landscape. Dungeness lies on the South-East coast, and is forecast to be entirely underwater within the next century. The landscape is formed of dunes, saline lagoons, and marshlands with varied, unique ecosystems. Simulation during research stage explores the natural process of salinity-driven osmosis, and its energy potential. Experimentation with salt crystal formations inspired the materiality and functionality of the design.

The structure hosts the tools to visibly monitor salinity level. Strings are fixed at intervals along elevated timber piers, the quantity of solidified salt upon them indicative of its concentration. The crystalline beauty of salt is exhibited in the public graduation tower, where visitors can learn about natural methods of its harvesting and breathe in the saline air – which is beneficial to lung health.

In line with the Green New Deal strategies, the scheme provides green energy – generated on-site, green jobs – manual skilled labour techniques, and aims to address issues of land protection and restoration. The landscape would be preserved via manipulation of the salinity line; increasing concentration in some areas to harvest salt, and decreasing it in others so that inland groundwater is desalinated.

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