Migratory Landforms

D3 Natural Systems 2016 Competition Entry
Awarded Special Mention : Landscape Urbanism
Collaboration with Dana Cupkova and Colleen Clifford
Summer 2016

Migratory LandForms is a project that explores land-building urbanization strategies inspired by natural sedimentation processes. Expanding on the protective phenomena of barrier islands formed at the cusp of Mississippi river, Lake Pontchartrain and Black Bay, we propose a large scale landscape expansion procedure for a changing planet. As climate-change precipitates the loss of habitable ground, ground-building and terraforming is becoming central to the design discipline. The urgency to urbanize and protect vulnerable coastal areas forefronts a need for interweaving the natural and industrial processes in order to robustly support the urban and ecological environments.

Our proposal couples the simulation flow strategy that negotiates the sedimented forms within the body of water with the industrial method of building oil rigs in the ocean in order to produce new migratory landforms. These landforms are semi-stabilized by the pier-based infrastructure that further supports sediment accumulation, hence expanding the new contingent territories. The projection is that the accumulative conglomeration of elevated urban islands will trigger secondary human connectivity, while simultaneously allowing for shifting sedimentary landscapes to grow into new bio-mass, and enhance the growth of new ecologies, natural habitats and water fluctuation processes.

This project is rooted in a discursive framework that negotiates the autonomous character of physical artifacts and the relational setup of socio-ecological systems. In the context of Morton’s writing on ‘hyperobjects’ (Morton, 2013), this work supports the physical autonomy within the framework of global relationality, hence shifting the focus of design away from contextual truth of information into the constraints of bio-synthetic logic.