4th Year Basil Spence, Weymouth : Pelagos

A group of 3 architects and 2 civil engineer students worked together to create a new proposal for Weymouth.

The brief: To design and develop a structure of the sea which enhances the relationship between humans and the open water. The aim of the project is to create a space which responds and engages with the social, physical and emotional aspects of the sea through the integration of architecture and engineering.


When visiting Portland, the breakwaters had a quiet yet powerful presence. The immensity of their structure protects the harbour against the energy of the waves, and although huge, have an enticing nature. Breakwaters tend to have negative connotations as they have an adverseeffect on the environment. The immensed barrier changes the normalwave motion, which alters the natural processes of the shore. This can create erosion and can lead to unsafe conditions.

Our proposal is to design an inhabited harbour wall which protects the inner harbour, while creating a new environment for both humans and wildlife. This will take advantage of the natural deposition which would undoubtedly occur along the shore over time and create a powerful monument to the sea.

Beach render cover Low contrast
Illustrative Render by group member (Will Campion) showing external view of proposal
Seasons montage
Seasonal montage of the harbour wall

Our scheme aims to re-engage man with the ocean and nature. To achieve this we are proposing a new harbour wall which completes an inner harbour and utilises the monumental structure as a vehicle for human and animal life alike.

The gentle curve of the wall gives protection on the side of the National SailingCentre, while allowing a strong application of concrete against the fierce waves. We carefully studied the affect of ocean structures on the currents and coastlineand deduced that any intervention would disrupt the status quo of the harbour. Therefore, we wanted to use this to our advantage by creating an ecological catalyst for the eastern edge of Chesil Beach.

The integral nature of a tidal site allows for a dynamic and ever changing perceptionof a building throughout the day. A curve exemplifies this, by perfecting twodistinct edges; an inside/an outside, protected/vulnerable. This instantly engages a participant into the friendly nature of the scheme, contradicting all the previous notoriety of these monumental, man-made monoliths



Basil Long Section
Section illustrating the four levels of Parade, Internal Street, Beach and Underwater Exhibition



Basil Spence Plan
Plan of Internal Street Level and illustrates landscaped beach level (created using biorock) and sailing docks.



Elevation Final and scale bar
Elevation illustrating cantilevered internal spaces and end tower.


The geology of Portland Harbour is predominantly limestone resulting in a heavy saturation of calcium carbonate within the sea waters; a free resource perfect for constructing an ecological preserve. The way we intend to utilise this material is with BioRock, a patented process developed by Architect and marine-biologist Prof. Wolf Hilbertz. By passing a small 1.34V, 1A current through a submerged, steel structure you can induce mineral accretion. The rebar within the steel is used to construct a frame for the partitions of the exhibition space and the inner wall cladding. Once a charge is appliedto the steel (a single PV panel will suffice), the limestone dissolvedin the water will begin to attract and layer it with calcium carbonateand magnesium hydroxide; both specifically in abundance in Portland Harbour.

Much like the exhibition, we decided to create our beach out of BioRock in order to give the marine habitats the best chance of development. Due to rich ecological presence of Chesil Beach and The Fleet, and the high levels of calcium carbonate in the surrounding water, BioRock will be perfect for the area. In parallel to the Grotto, the rock needs a small 1.34V, 1A current to grow the Araganite. We decided to generate the power by integrating solar photovoltaic panels into the entry gate. Therefore, as the material is generated from the purest source of all, the entire beach is a completely sustainable, collective ecosystem.

The street is comprised of a series of cantilevering spaces that breach the central wall in a variety of ways. Channelling biomimicary, the pods resemble barnacles and sea creatures that usually attach themselves to open water structures. The predominant axis of the wall is ‘hollowed out’ and developed to create a powerful and diverse user experience. Unlikecommon, solid harbour walls, this level aims to efficiently use the largelinear space in a multitude of ways to give the structure a new social use.

The social narrative within this floor is extremely important, as the wallaims to provide a new educational facility for the area and reconnect manwith the surrounding palegic space through public and intimate reflection.

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