Muhammad Shaukat Ali

Year 1 MArch

Salting the Earth

The Scalp
Fishtoft, Boston

This project explores an alternative, ecologically minded, computationally driven approach to salt harvesting. Situated in the delta and salt marsh of the River Welland, it collaborates with local cottage industries of salt harvesting, aiming to scale up salt production to replace chemical additives in associated industries.

Initial design research involved bio-based material testing with timber, clay, and cork forms, and salt growth and examining geometric patterns formed by salt crystals on various substrates. By manipulating environmental factors such as temperature, concentration and surface porosity, the testing encouraged various crystallization processes to generate organic, driven forms which were then appraised algorithm and digitally.

Environmental mapping and computational methods were used to derive a masterplan that adapts to the salt marsh's ecology, topography, and geomorphology. These salt-derived patterns are translated into physical architectural elements through casting, additive fabrication, and moulding techniques, challenging conventional fabrication methodologies and exploring salt's potential as an ecological, temporary building material.

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