DS+R: South China Sea Pearl, Hanian - China

South China Sea Pearl

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Over the last century we have designed infrastructural systems that operate mostly independent of the ecological cycles of local habitats. Water, food, and energy are traditionally extracted from local habitat to support our community activities and waste bi-products are then dumped into the vast territories of ocean and sky.

We now understand that this model of development is neither sustainable nor resilient to seasonal and climate changes. We need to develop new a model of infrastructural interventions over this century which adapts to participate within ecological cycles to improve health, stimulate growth, and promote awareness. Ecological and human systems can become one biosphere movement exchanging resources through a weave of simple relationships that evolve to maintain balances necessary for survival and regeneration.

We have put together a diverse mixture of energy exchanges for the island that primarily draws from the Sky and Ocean and is supplemented by waste cycles. But what is more interesting are the new relationships developed between the utility infrastructure and surrounding habitat – algae reactors, solar lilly pads, tidal lagoons, and cruise bio-fuel exchanges, fostering an ecological dependence.

Algae reactors line the roof of the Caldera and absorb waste water and carbon dioxide from the energy center to increase its reproductive productivity rates as well as remove carbon from the air. From the algea we extract bio-fuel for energy which results in waste oxygen that is used for health of people as well as the aquaponic nurseries. Lagoon bulb turbines are placed within the tidal walls lining the estuaries creating energy from the flushing of the brackish bioswales while aerating the artificial coast line to help promote the re-emergence of Molluscs.

Within the lagoons we placed floating solar panels that act like lilly pads – creating shelter for the fish nurseries and slowing down the evapotranspiration rates of the water supply. The water in- return helps to slightly cool the solar panels increases their efficiency upwards of 10 percent. In a partnership with the local cruise industry, eco-island will be a catalyst in the green cruise movement by harness the energy from 5 tons of waste cooking oil a year.

Water and waste streams are essential to the success of the eco-island urban landscape and and renewed habitats. The island design strives to recycle 100% of its water footprint and 95% of its waste stream through both gravity based and en-vac infrastructure. To meet the baseline water demand of 7200ML/YR, the project harvests rainwater, processes reclaimed water, increases efficiencies, and stores water seasonally to offset municipal supplies. 19500 MT of organic and non-organic waste is filtered through both the anaerobic digester and energy center to create energy, heat sinks, and topsoil for creating the forest and dune landscape.

Under the Algae roof water is capture and funneled along the spine of the caldera and gravity feed to the membrane bioreactors and storm water filtration beds. Both black and grey water are treated through natural processes and stored within fresh water reservoirs that in times of excess support agriculture, aquaculture and recreational practices. When water is scarce, conservation measures recedes it back to the habitat for shelter from evapotranspiration under the canopy of the mangrove trees.

It's an infrastructure mixture that both provides the water and energy needs of the island communities – but also self generates the materials and nutrients necessary to promote growth and resilience. In the end it's an integrated ecology of both habitats and human systems promoting the health of one another. A new model to aspire to over the next century.