“I wish there were stable places, immobile, intangible, untouched and almost untouchables unmovable, rooted; places to act as references, points of departure, origins.”
“(…) Stable places don’t exist, and it’s because they don’t exist that space becomes a question, ceases to be self-evident.”
George Perec, Species of Spaces
Curtis Island is no stable place. It’s been constantly changing, evolving from a barely populated piece of land in the bottom tip of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to being part of the flourishing coal industry, hosting LNG facilities where gas will be shipped from. To cater with the emergence of this industry, dredging needs to be done, however, environmentalists and fishermen blame this process for the area's poor water quality and the diseases affecting marine life. This has put Gladstone harbour in the spotlight.
Therefore, the proposal is a water monitoring-centre to ensure the quality of the water entering the reef.
Water has been the design shaper.
The project consists in a series of walkways along the mangroves inspired by the geometry of water streams that link the different facilities: the research centre, remediation ponds, recreational pools, resting spaces, boathouses.
The project is located in a fast changing tidal zone. Jetty construction technology is used to manage the link of the building to the ground through a slender steel structure allowing minimal connection to the marshlands floor.
Establishing a field of occupation.
The water monitoring is done through a series of navigational markers placed along the tidal area. They collect water quality information and serve as navigational aids and as mooring points at high tide.
Like sentinels guarding the site, these markers occupy their waterside territory and lit up according to water conditions. Tide, wind and solar power could be harnessed to lit them up. This intervention can establish a link between energy production, water quality and the flows and physical forces that surround us. It’s about establishing a direct relationship with the environment, where the limits of architecture, water and territory are blurred.
Where land meets water, industry meets nature and past meets future, the water-monitoring centre stands as a witness of the industrial processes, taking record of its effects in the environment and displaying them through the lit-up markers, establishing a dialog with Gladstone harbour and acting as a reflection of it.
Status: School Project
Location: Curtis Island, Queensland, Australia