STUDIO 3B STEEL COMPETITION Spring 2013 Professor: Juan Carlos Portuese Partner: Jose Siquina
Marine Research Center
The island of St. Croix located in the U.S. Virgin Islands, is well known for its culture, mangrove trees but most importantly its vast coral reef that surrounds the entire island. Globally coral reefs accounts for 25% of the worlds marine wildlife. Due to global warming over the 30% of the worlds coral reef has been lost as a direct result of coral bleaching in the past 30 years alone. Coral bleaching is caused when the tropical water has an abnormal change in temperature, this causes the protozoa living in the coral that allow the coral reef to thrive to disappear almost overnight. Almost immediately after the protozoa disappear from the site, the coral is left completely white and unable to sustain any marine life. In as little as two weeks the entire marine ecosystem in the area can be permanently destroyed.
The coral reef relies on a series of enjambments in order to survive. The marine biological research center will work for the site as much as the site works for the building. The proposal is for the building to control the temperature of the water through a series of systems, the water utilized by the building can then be used for all the necessities a marine biological research laboratory would need. By creating this relationship between the coral reef and the building, the design will guarantee that the coral reef will forever exist. The building design begins by creating a footprint through the existing topography, the boundaries are created and the form is extruded from the ground sinking directly into the coast. The water that is pumped into the building immediately goes into one of two systems. The first system is a geothermal where water is pumped deep underground to cool while the second system would be used to distribute water throughout the building. As the water is being recycled into the ocean it will run through turbines that power the entire building.