IE School of Architecture and Design, Spain
Our relationship with the ocean has changed over history. In the past century, we have changed that relationship to a more exploitative, one-sided one. We are coming close to exhausting our oceans’ underwater life to feed an ever-growing population. Overfishing will not only have dreadful effects on society, but also on the environment. This project focuses on creating an oceanic agricultural system that works synergistically with the ocean, that uplifts societies and economies in the context of fishing towns of Galicia, while creating food to feed themselves and others. There is one way we can do this, and it is by turning to a resource that we have always had but only now we have started to appreciate: micro and macro algae.
Algae is a versatile element of our ecosystems. When farmed, it helps keep oceans healthy and clean. Its uses are growing more and more everyday, but some examples of its applications are in food, energy, fertilizers, bioplastics, and clothing, just to name a few. Several towns in Galicia have a history of using seaweed and seaweed is embedded into the oceanic culture. This project takes seaweed farming to an extreme. The project aim is a scalable agro-ecologic farming system based on three different types of algae: red and brown (macro algae) and blue-green micro algae. The system will be represented in the main seaweed-harvesting town of Galicia which is A Guarda; but it could be applied to any other town in different scales and by changing the algae used. The project deliverable is a set of axonometric drawings representing the system broken down and explained.
Edible Sea-scapes explores the abusive relationship between humans and the ocean, and explored the opportunities that can emerge from looking at past practices for sustainable solutions. It takes the small coastal town of A Guarda, Galicia, as the place to develop a seaweed-based agricultural system. The town was chosen since it is one of the few remaining seaweed harvesting towns in Spain. The project itself proposes a system implemented in three phases into the town to substitute fishing and build more sustainable economies from seaweed farming. Variations of this system can be applied into any coastal town in the world by adapting the seaweed species and the activities of implementation.
The project was first presented in May 2021, later featured in Dezeen alongside other graduation projects. In October of 2021, this project was exhibited at the Dutch Design Week 2021