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Shifting Frontiers

Shifting Frontiers

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Sarah Keane. Originally submitted for Architecture at None, with lecturer Merritt Bucholz in the category of Engineering & Mechanical Sciences
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Sarah Keane. Originally submitted for Architecture at None, with lecturer Merritt Bucholz in the category of Engineering & Mechanical Sciences

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 30, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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shifting frontiers
y architecture thesis is an exploration of ways in which one understands and reads their environment. My studies have taken me on a journey involving an in - depth analysis of the Shannon Estuary, (located onthe west coast of Ireland), with a particular interest in the profound sense of place that once existed among estuarine communities. My research concentrated on the history of settlement patterns and land usage along
the inter - tidal zones known as the ‘mudlats’ of the estuary along with cultural tendencies and building techniques unique to the area. The inal piece of design work emerged from my process of research which led me tounderstand how the acts of designing, building and living are capable of establishing a ‘sense of place’ for the self in a particular environment.Human activities played a signiicant role in the morphological development of the Shannon Estuary. The archaeological evidence found along its edges are all indications of a strong connection with and understandingof this unique waterlogged landscape. Today human settlement within the lowlands of the estuary is generally sparse as communities move further away from its peripheries. The rising chimneystacks and exhaust fumesof Shannon’s industrial compounds are now the only major signs of activity along the estuary’s coastline. The once unique intimate relationship with the intertidal zones that existed on the Shannon, has been lost ascommunities move further away from the estuary’s edge.My design project looks into the future of industrial and settlement development along the estuary’s frontiers and challenges the idea of living on an unstable ground of the mudlats; a landscape that is constantlyin lux. The brief is constructed around the facilities required for the group of engineers who will be involved in the designing of assistive tools and technologies for the deployment, monitoring and maintenance of oceanenergy devices in the estuary. This new settlement will provide an anchor and identity for the small village of Loghill, located between the major industrial towns of Foynes and Tarbert. The design takes the form of a publiccauseway, a move that will initiate the extension of the town out onto the estuary’s mudlats. The causeway weaves its way out to the deeper waters, rooing and sheltering the laboratories and workshops of the engineeringresearch camp below. Access and use of the laboratory islands will be tide dependent; encouraging the engineers to establish an intimate relationship with their setting. Boats become the primary form of transport withinthis new community. Traditional boats of the Shannon region will ind a new role in society shufling engineers and visitors back and forth throughout the site. The causeway becomes a public platform for viewing thesurrounding scenery and the activities of the engineers. The aim is to reestablish the relationship between the people and the unique inter- tidal conditions of an estuarine environment.

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