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Part 1 Project 2010
Sigita Burbulyte
Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool | UK
Caloosahatchee is the burial place which becomes an escape for nature. A monument portraying man’s destructive power being transformed into a vivacious sanctuary. The human is a learner here, who tries to get close to nature and embrace it.

This project is a personal response to the film “Manufactured Landscapes” and a long journey of research and exploration leading to the creation of the man made island - Caloosahatchee. It aims to stop the rapidly increasing number of endangered fish species worldwide. At the moment there is one out of three fish species in danger because of human activity.

Caloosahatchee - is an island responsive to environmental changes and located in the deepest point of the river Mersey. The complex serves as a fish hatchery and a sailing/diving school, which are a part of a floating platform. The hatchery consists of a lab, a research center, fish tanks, which are a safe environment for smelts and a reef (made out of Caloosahatchee ship ‘ribs’), where fish can create natural habitats. The sailing/diving school enables humans to go back to the nature and actively explore it by sailing and diving near the reef.

The platform becomes a dynamic shelter for humans. The canopies are covered with printable solar cells and generate enough energy for the whole complex.

The complex reacts to 10 meter tide changes – the main platform and canopies with the school and lab move up and down together with water level on a series of piles. The fish tanks and the reef belong to the underwater world and are revealed briefly above the surface of the water when the tide goes down.

Caloosahatchee is a celebration of water in variety of senses. Here it becomes essential to try to minimise the clash between humans and nature. Or even compensate the damage done over time by man and its creations.

Sigita Burbulyte

The ability to pursue a design idea with confidence and self direction to a level where it creatively flourishes, is an attribute of Sigita’s persuasive work. She consistently demonstrates design talent and method, showing a passionate diligence in the research of the topics examined: she does it with remarkable depth and rigour. Consequently, she constantly elevates design expectations among her peers in the Studio.

‘TRANSLATIONS AND INVERSIONS’ was thematically interpreted by Sigita as an opportunity to engage with the global politics of materiality, reprocessing and recycling raised in the film ‘Manufactured Landscapes’ by Jennifer Baichwal. The film was instrumental in provoking the student to identify a particular impact on the human condition and the making of a future Architecture. This became the initial platform for her enquiry.

Her research investigation and thematic orientation culminated in ‘Caloosahatchee’. A dismantled ship was appropriated to create an island in the River Mersey that could sustain a bio-diverse artificial reef housing a fish hatchery for the preservation of endangered species, a haven for bird life, marine research and a school for diving. This intervention creates a new place for energising the presence of the Mersey as a contemporary resource. In this sense, a counterpoint is provided against man’s destructive power into an escape to Nature.

The floating aquaria that respond to the tidal changes of the river reveal its contents as a temporal spectacle both within the arterial promenaded route of the complex as well as its immediate surroundings. This is a potent didactic ‘beacon’ that announces to the world the challenges that we must confront.

This is an imaginative project that has been delivered with passion, resolution and strength of vision, fully explored through models that delightfully juxtapose large scale and the minutiae of detail.

Ms Gladys Masey-Martinez
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