[Seaweed as a natural resource, process and product and the physical manifestations of each. (All images by James Tait)]

We read with great interest of the project by James Tait at the University of Strathclyde and his award-winning proposal for a seaweed farm in the northwest coastal villages of Scotland. His project is titled "Time and Tide for Seaweed," and posits seaweed cultivation as an economic and social catalyst, while capitalizing on cyclical vegetal processing methods.

[Diagram of a seaweed industry as the generator for a trade and transport network connecting remote areas within the North West Highlands.]
[Key points in the new trade and transportation network.]

As James Tait writes in his project description:

From fuel production and fertiliser to cosmetics and foodstuffs seaweeds’ versatility makes it a lucrative natural resource. Scotland’s shores host around 20% of the total seaweed biomass in Europe and nearly half of this can be found in the North West coast.

A thriving seaweed industry would revitalise and reinvigorate the area, reconnecting it with its vast coastline, repopulating and diversifying the social mix of its towns and villages while providing much needed opportunities for its young people.

[Aerial Perspective of the cultivation farm and its related programs, at Arisaig.]
[Detailed analysis of seaweed farm incorporating boat stations and seaweed cultivation rafts.]

The architectural proposal will consist of: an offshore cultivation farm, farmers’ bothy, floating restaurant and pier, seaweed baths, and drying tower.

The seaweed farm complex at Arisaig requires little energy to transform the raw material into a product, the farmers boats will be powered by biodiesel made from unused seaweed, while the cultivation process aids biodiversity by providing nutrients for fish and other marine life.

A policy of energy re-use is also employed in the cultivation rafts where LEDs absorb and store daylight during the day and emit it at night while the drying tower base is home to a series of steam baths which use the energy created during the seaweed drying process.

[Detailed analysis of public seaweed baths and drying tower complex using steam to provide the energy needed for both functions.]
[Detailed analysis of floating seaweed restaurant and its relationship to its surrounding landscape and parasitical nature of the base resource.]
[Sunset view of new floating sea vegetable cafe, surrounded by the farm rafts which serve it.]
[Phenomenology and industry combine to produce a magical nightime affect across the bay, as the cultivation raft poles glow at night.]
[Seaweed baths and drying tower glows like a lighthouse across the bay.]

Found via Bustler


James Tait’s concept may be important for the survival of a rural area in northern Scotland not because of his design, but because of the potential of seaweed and his application of the cyclical cultivation process directly into the design has the capability to completely reinvigorate the area in terms of jobs and energy. Surprisingly, as Tait delves further into the details of his idea, it is incredibly interesting to analyze his rhetoric and articulation of his arguments. His persuasive tone constructs a well-organized and thoughtful plan. Moreover, the innovative nature that is inherent to utilizing seaweed in such a myriad of ways is inspiring. The architecture community, including myself, is constantly searching for a simple idea that has the potential to mold an ideal environment, and the cultivation of seaweed appears to do just this. The amount of detail that is currently necessary for infrastructure, which transfers energy and water, causes us to lose nearly 15% of all water produced. Needless to say, our system fosters an amount of waste that is unacceptable. Moreover, the cycle of seaweed can be extrapolated and applied to almost all agricultural products, such as wheat and corn. A more efficient system of processing these resources will considerably impact our economy in advantageous ways. Of course, during times of economic hardship, these ingenious concepts will have augmenting importance. In my opinion, his attempt to become a symbol of “industry, history, health, and leisure,” will almost certainly occur because innovation will help our economy and society progress during times of distress. The most interesting component of his idea is that the project will intertwine social and economic sectors with a proposal that aids in the nurturing of an ecosystem. Cultivating the seaweed creates nutrients that are vital for the ocean and marine life. Clearly, there are similarities to this and solar updraft towers in the middle of the desert because the condensation from the greenhouse effect retains moisture which provides the framework and nutrients for an arable landscape. The future of sustainable architecture should be similar with LED ratings and should start to analyze not only the deleterious impacts of buildings on a given environment, but also the positive effects.

Conrad Karliss added these pithy words on Feb 24 09 at 12:40 pm


Rafting Scotland Trips.

Thambu added these pithy words on Apr 11 09 at 5:11 am

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