Trawling the Thames / Fish & Ships

[insert caption.]

[The Tower Bridge Seafood Market explores a fictitious urban scenario where direct access to the sea provides the ability for fish farming to become free-ranging. All drawings by Jonathan Blair.]

Last month I had the pleasure of attending final reviews at University of Michigan Taubman College for two days. I saw an incredible range of work within a studio premise called "Perimeter." Each studio developed a position relative to the condition of a perimeter as a site. Perimeter to what? In what way is the perimeter advantageous for divergent forms and formats of urbanism? And is the perimeter just a slumbering future center? From my visit, it is difficult to select a single project, again because of the sweeping diversity of propositions within each brief, but I was struck by the simplicity and industrious viability of a project that had the Thames River as a perimeter site. Its author is Jonathan Blair working under professor Sophia Psarra's studio site of the Thames. Now you might be wondering, in what way is the Thames a perimeter? And I had similar hesitation, but generally it depends on who is asking the question of perimeter. If it is fisherman and fishmongers than it is most certainly a perimeter to a larger center. Blair's project originates from the following two facts: Fact 1: Britons eat one-third of all the cod consumed in the world, and 85% of cod caught in European waters is destined for plates in the UK. (BBC) Fact 2: The very shape of the food web has changed, from plankton on up to the cod and flatfish that once dominated the icy waters, supporting rich commercial fisheries. They’ve been largely replaced by jellyfish and crabs. (Wired) [The first fish n chips shop was opened in 1860 in London offering Atlantic Cod fried in the Jewsih traditional way from trawling in the North Sea.]

[The first fish n chips shop was opened in 1860 in London offering Atlantic Cod fried in the Jewsih traditional way from trawling in the North Sea.]

Jonathan Blair's Miles of Liquid History: A Half Real/Half Fictional Atlas of the London Thames addresses a projected near future in which the ocean's fruit is even more threatened, and to maintain fish consumption we have resorted to new forms of aquaculture. Blair embraces some of the initial successes of the aquapod for aquacultural harvesting. (read more on offshore aquaculture here.) He writes:

The oceans have been critical for maintaining food sources worldwide. What happens when we relieve them of their fruit? Just as London has replaced cod, the famous fish n' chips variety, with plaice due to overfishing, other once abundant species are disappearing. Due to such occurrences, fish farms have popped up as a way to monitor stocks. Fish farms make fishing an easy chore and stabilize fish prices.

[An aquapod submerged ready to cultivate, as developed by Ocean Farm Technologies.]

[An aquapod submerged ready to cultivate, as developed by Ocean Farm Technologies.]

The catch, however, is that Blair rigs the aquapod's arrival point into London at the historic Tower Bridge, completed in 1894. Effectively, the bridge reels in the pod, when ready, it hovers over vehicles and pedestrians passing below as a gantry pulls it toward one of the pier-towers. After it is emptied, it is then deposited back under the raised bridge-road, into the Thames, and cast back out to sea. [caption here for 00.]

[0:00 | Condition normal.]

[caption here 05b.]

[5:00 | Aquapod arrives.]

[image caption 06b.]

[6:00 | Aquapod lifted to high gantry.]

[image caption 09b.]

[9:00 | Bridge back to normal.]

[image caption 18i.]

[18:00 | Aquapod empited, and bridge opens to release pod.]

[image caption 19i.]

[19:00 | Aquapod cast back out to the North Sea.]

He further writes:

However, a present challenge with fish farms lies in the pollution from a large aquatic populous occupying a coastal region previously uninhabited. Antibiotics, feed, and fish waste plague the stagnant water surrounding the farm. This is currently tolerated as a positive alternative to scraping the bottom with ever-expanding nets. The Tower Bridge Seafood Market explores a fictitious urban scenario where direct access to the sea provides the ability for fish farming to becoming free-ranging.

[image caption model.]

[View of a model of one of the Tower Bridge piers rigged with over 25 handlines for the local catch-of-the-day at the proposed Tower Bridge market.]

The two towers of Tower Bridge are outfitted with a light-weight supplementary structure that allows access to the market, food court, lift operations, and a crow's nest. Each structural member is threaded with a handline that fihes for local catch. This operates in complement to the larger scale offshore aquapod.

[image caption p-sect5.]

[Elevations of the filigreed structural rig wrapping the tower-piers of Tower bridge.]

 

Finally, Blair writes:

The proposed method utilizes a recent invention in which a geodesic structure of aluminum and Kevlar mesh preseeded with a particular marine species serves as the vessel for off-shore farming. Autonomous feeding and satellite guidance systems navigate the spheres on predetermined migratory paths until the school has reached adequate size for its return to port. This mobile fish farm is juxtaposed with the traditional handline method, where a balance of wild versus farm-raised is played out on a central stage. The handline method also allows for a specific species not able to caught by net to be acquired. Tying in to the existing hydraulic lift systems historically used to raise and lower the drawbridge, the "AquaSphere" is hoisted upwards between the two towers where it will be unloaded while simultaneously the fishing lines retract bringing up the a wild catch and special for the day.

[image caption underthesea.]

[Fish-eye view of the structural wrapper showing integrated reelers.]

To reach Jonathan, please contact him at blairjo [at] gmail [dot] com.

Category: 
Student Work

Add new comment

BLOG ARCHIVE

2009

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

September 2009

August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009

February 2009

January 2009