ARCHITECTURE// monitoring station

Monitoring station is a proposal for a floating farm around the canals of Venice, to connect the germination period of vegetables to rising sea levels and the sinking of Venice. As sea water rises and the wooden piles that Venice was built upon slowly subside, the challeneg of keeping water out of the residents homes becomes more of a challenege. On Grand Canal many homes have already lost their ground floors during the highest tides and a city devoid of mechanised transport faces losing its pavements as well.

The concept of the monitoring station came from creating a device using floats to measure the water height over short, medium and long term. The device would then release a visual indication into the water based upon a pre-determined water level. This, in the form of milk or water based dye, would indicate to those down stream that water levels were about to approach dangerous levels and to enable them time to put any water defences in place.

The water flow around Venice’s canals is dictated by the tide and demonstrates a lag of around an hour. In our test area the visual indication release by the device plots canals route to and from the the testing point.

The cycles of water levels are effected by the tides twice a day, the seasons and unpredictable highs all with a growing trend due to rising water levels and the sinking of Venice. As water levels render pedestrian paths unusable the monitoring station is envisaged as a community centre where crops can be sowed as ease of transport declines. Each grouping of plants requires different germination periods.

The concept to use the tidal movements to propel the plants around Venice canals was bourne from the idea of the visual indicator of the monitoring device. The realease of plants would forwarn of impending high water levels.

The form of the plant growing units was born as an abstraction of the release of the milk, that the units could be released as groups or individuals and form a floating market along the canal system.

The abstraction of the milk creates varying soil depths and shading conditions to provide ideal growing conditions for a large range of plants.

The market street of the monitoring station in its docked state allows its customer to walk along amongst the vegetables.

The monitoring station functions as as the initial device by using the varying germination periods to show how high the water levels have been in that particular cycle.

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About Alex Bilton

Chartered Architect

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