Fields of the Future

Peter Brewer, an ocean chemist at Monterey, is working on what Nature Climate Change calls an “underwater aquarium.”

[Image: A diagram of Peter Brewer’s “underwater aquarium,” via Nature Climate Change].

It is, Brewer explains, “a 10m-long flume with an experimental chamber that sits on a patch of sea floor containing animals whose response to ocean acidification is to be tested.”

Brewer’s artificial chemical microclimate—a partially enclosed carbon dioxide bloom—is framed by an architecture of buoyant bricks and mixing fans. “At present, it is on the sea floor about 850m below the ocean surface and 25km offshore,” he adds.

The use of this technically enhanced architectural device to test undersea creatures—with its M.C. Escher-like logic of an aquarium surrounded by water—brings to mind other experiments for spatially probing the limits of life, including modified-atmosphere aviaries or even the Duke Forest, a forest-within-the-forest dotted with carbon dioxide-emitting masts.

[The “Aspen FACE,” or Northern Forest Ecosystem Experiment].

The Northern Forest Ecosystem Experiment in Wisconsin, pictured above, is another example of using spatial tools to frame and demarcate an augmented ecosystem.

Further, there is an interestingly asynchronous quality to these experimental terrains: in each case, they are technically enhanced landscapes for the production of a speculative future biome, these and other “fields of the future” simulating what regions of the earth might be like in 50-100 years’ time.

One thought on “Fields of the Future”

  1. Funny sort of architecture using floatation to counteract gravity. I imagine the walls are plastic sheeting and the frame a wire structure. Imagine how one could use this idea in atmospheric architecture, as opposed to oceanic. One would have a balloon tethered to your roof and holding up the lightweight walls and ceiling obviating the need for load bearing and visually heavy structure. With proper fans for stabilization and a system of sensors to keep track of wind conditions in real time and compensate. The constantly changing conditions could become a source of inspiration for the architecture to respond programmatically.

    Sorry, Geoff, your posts always inspire me to try it for myself. I hope it is not too presumptuous to comment in this way.

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