INTERVENTION ALONG THE SALT LAKE. Weathering/Weathering of environments and genetic code of territoriality.
K. ZINTILIS ANASTASI
2013 | Τμήμα Αρχιτεκτονικής Πανεπιστημίου Λευκωσίας
Διπλωματική Εργασία | Επιβλέποντες : Γιώργος Χατζηχρίστου & Μαρία Χατζησωτηρίου
Concept – Salt as a design mechanism
Salt itself is a material that continuously changes state from solid to liquid. This itself reflects the site. Deriving from the idea of ‘changing state’ the objective was to add the process of weathering to the design process, with consideration towards weather conditions and the element of time. Therefore apart from the sensitive material itself that plays a large role within the design, there needs to be a connection between the material, time and people and place! This extends into research about genetic code of territoriality, which describes the importance of architecture relating to where it is built. eg. the igloo
The site location falls along the salt lake nature path that cuts through the site from east to west. At present the path acts as a boundary between the salt lake and the residential area, with very few connecting points. Therefore creating a very distinct boundary between public and private. The locations chosen, in the past were used to separate lepers from the general community, and second is a small piece of land that lies in connection to an existing neighborhood.
Activities: walking, jogging, running, geo-caching, bird watching.
The salt lake was originally a salt mine and Flamingo habitat. With this in mind the design became a symbiotic designed ecology; salt crystallization guiding the project, dissolving and reshaping itself with seasonal and evaporative cycles. The design became an ecosystem in itself, completely embedded in the context that surrounds it.
In addition to this, the salt lake has become polluted, mainly due to the airport and fumes emitted by passing cars and in consequence to that the mining stopped. So the question here is: how can we use the existing environment and site conditions to help improve the quality of the salt lake?
What plant could exist in high saline water and at the same time cleanse the water from the pollution?
Possible candidates are mangroves – that are capable of drawing pollutant from the water
As the site falls along the ‘salt lake nature path’ the idea is to create a design that harmonizes and coexists with this path, creating a another dimension to the nature walk. A path that informs people of the salt lake through architecture. At the same time relieving some stress from the environment as the salt lake has fallen victim to pollution.
Furthermore the existing hiking trail is used by local people as a step away from the city. It acts as a boundary, separating the residential area from the salt lake. but what this existing hiking trail lacks is a connection to the salt lake. therefore this project introduces a secondary path that interweaves between the boundaries, thresholds and existing path. Using the existing vegetation as transition points between each environment.
Salt crystals are cubic in shape, therefore the design of the ground began with the a simple 1m x 1m grid. Combining this idea to the design of the ground to collect water, I began to extrude points both in positive and negative directions. This gave cup shapes that allowed for the collection of water and the planting of mangroves within the cups for water purification. Water is brought from the salt lake and past through the landscaping and slowly returning back to the salt basin.
In continuation to the development of the ground, digging openings into the ground wasn’t an option. The study of a footprint shows that when the ground is pushed down, the excess mud is pushed outward and upward. This leads to sustainable landscaping
The valley and the in-between space
Water is brought into the cup like forms that hold water. But there is only so much that they can hold. Therefore the landform is designed so there is an in-between space that directs the water back to the salt lake.
Within the in-between space (valleys created) Stepping stones exist to keep the user from coming in contact with the salt water. At the same time the valley is a reflection of the salt lake. A basin that is filled with the debris of the surrounding landforms that have begun to deteriorate. To enhance the notion of time, adobe piles have been placed around the site. As time shifts the small piles begin to become part of the landscape and not part of the architecture. The surface in not concrete but has now become soil. Weeds and plants can take over the space. But as water continuous to flow through the valley, the soil gradually disappears. Bringing the valley back to its original state.
Looking at salt lakes around the world e.g. dead sea, patterns can be clearly established. Salt creates circular patterns on the surface. The structures have appeared in areas where the landscaping is at its deepest point and the path creates a connection between the activities that each structure holds.
Since the ground floor is part of the path, each module acts as a workshop where people can walk through and visit the workshops.
Form and Materiality
The concept of the build was derived from the site conditions and objects existing in and around the site. A decomposing log, a footprint disappearing over time and a stone eroding. The materiality of the buildings are constructed of adobe walls that follow the shape of the frames created. Over time the walls begin to erode, the eroded materials becomes part of the landscaping. Therefore what is left behind is a memory of what was massive in form to something light weight.
Seasonal adaptation and the element of time (slow pace, fast pace)
As a reflection and extension of the site, the design of each element was designed with a sensitivity towards the environment and reacting to it. A main characteristic of salt is that it is capable of shifting from solid to liquid in the presence of water. The question here was how to use salt as a material that could react to the temperature and humidity? Salt can be drawn from salt water using capillary action. In the same way that salt takes over plants within the salt basin during the rise and fall of the water level, a membrane was designed to encapsulate the living environments.
Salt water would be sprayed onto microfibers that hang over the building structure during the summer months, and as the temperature rises the salt mass grows, blocking completely the sun from the spaces below. Allowing only translucent light.
The summer period is over and is normally signaled by rain fall. The solid mass begins to dissolve and fall, but instead of allowing the salt to disappear, the design of transparent cups below the salt mass have been installed to capture the salt and water, therefore controlling the run of.
Each module is related to the site via materiality. Within the salt basin various materials experience weathering and depending on the materials the procedure occurs in different time frames.
Bamboo was used in the design of the living environment. A material that is in abundance on the site, It is placed horizontally and held together by the microfibers that hang from the external roof membrane. The idea here is so the salt water runs down the microfibers and slowly moves through the bamboo and then drips back to the surfaces below, assisting with decomposition, and as the debris falls, traces of fallen leaves and stem surround the building creating a footprint or a new boundary around the building.
The bamboo layer also acts as a protective layer, blocking the sun from the interior spaces. As the form of the building angles away from the interior layer an in-between space is created, where potted plants can be placed. This comes into contradiction to the idea of weathering but at the same time reinforces it.
Clay storage/green house
Similarly to the design of the information centre the metal structure of the building is encapsulated by adobe, only in this case, the adobe also takes over the space’s floor. The floor consists of wooden palettes that over time are overwhelmed by the soil. The wood decomposes and what is left is the soil floor. Therefore overtime this space is not just an storage space but could also be a green house.