The Bartlett
Autumn Show 2021
About the show



Fluid Strata: The Butterfly Effect

Project details

Studio Design Studio 1
Year 1
  • Landscape Architecture MLA Year 1 Prize

At 9:47 am (GMT) on January 16th of the year 2100, hydrological overflows accumulated due to global sea level rise overwhelm London’s primary flood defence system, the Thames Barrier. As a result, London faces a series of catastrophic events directly linked to saltwater intrusion and urban flooding.

In order to ensure the city’s survival, both above and below ground, the project deploys the existence of London’s hidden rivers as core agents of a flood defence organism. Through a series of membranous landscape tissues, valves and deep channelling systems, the hydrological overflows meander between the strata before they fuse together to be exhausted into the deep ground.

The introduced tectonic is based on an experimental state of hybrid materiality focusing on responsive behaviour above and below ground. The proposed landscape exists in a reciprocal relationship with human and non-human territories, changing its shape according to water’s kinesis. Following the tidal Thames, the landscape operates in phases, submerging parts of its main body to lift others, acting as the central circulation for vegetation and the human experience.

Terrestrial Inhabitation

Above ground, the landscape engages with the human scale through a series of woven paths, ponds and hills, which transform the site into a green-blue infrastructure by the Thames.

Landscape Phasing

The strata of the landscape is injected by a series of polymer-based membranous tissues, which swell between low tide and high tide to absorb the incoming hydrological overflows.

Digital Landscape Prototypes

As soon as water saturates the strata network, the membranes begin to swell by absorbing the moisture of their environment. As a result they increase in size, weaving a dense relationship with the deep ground.

Human/Non-Human Territories

Along the course of the hidden River Tyburn, the landscape extends beyond its terrestrial inhabitation to protect the extant subterranean infrastructure of London from flooding.

Physical Landscape Performance

Physical Landscape Performance

The swelling behaviour of the landscape membranes was tested through the activation of several hydrophilic and hydrophobic layers. These enabled sequential response to tidal and storm surges.

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Index of Works

The Bartlett
Autumn Show 2021
30 October – 13 November