29 Mar Spark transforms Singapore’s coastline with beach huts
“If the oceans die, we die” – Captain Paul Watson
Inspired by the work of Parley for the Oceans and their collaborative work with Adidas, G Star Raw and Pharrell Williams using recycled ocean waste to create innovative products SPARK’s beach hut is fabricated from discarded plastic collected from the beaches and seas of South East Asia.
In the spirit of the colourful Victorian beach houses from the North Coast of Norfolk, UK to Muizenberg, South Africa SPARK’s proposed prototype beach hut for Singapore’s East Coast Park is intended to animate the shoreline and provide rentable occasional accommodation for the many “beach campers” who frequent the park on the weekend. At the same time it acts as an important vehicle for educating the public about the state of the world’s oceans and the problems caused by the flagrant dumping of plastic and other waste material into the sea.
The skin of SPARK’s beach hut is manufactured from recycled HDPE (high density polyethylene) a plastic that makes up a large percentage of the plastic dumped into the ocean. The annual world market volume for HDPE is around 30 million tonnes, just small percentage of this figure is sufficient to contribute to the slow death of the oceans and the extensive life cycles it supports. HDPE is non-biodegradable and can take centuries to decompose, so it is imperative that the HDPE ocean waste is collected and recycled and used again wherever possible to abate the escalating damage we are doing to our planet. Our society and its current values of consumption necessitate a system in which production and imaginative recycling are in balance with long-term ecological well-being.
HDPE is a polymer that also possesses flexible properties that make it ideal for a wide range of easy recyclable applications.
The recovered HDPE waste material is colour coded and shredded, it is then reformed by reheating the plastic granules into a mould shaped in the form of a 3 dimensional stiff scales that are used to clad the SPARK beach hut much in the same way as traditional roof tiles or timber shingles work.
A few different types of “scales” of varying degrees of solidity and transparency facilitate privacy and views across East Coast Park and the Ocean. The “scales” at the top of the hut are printed with thin film PV (photo-voltaic) generating sufficient power to support the interior fan and general LED lighting of the hut.
The huts are naturally ventilated and self-sustainable, they shelter the users in the traditional sense of the beach hut from wind and rain whilst providing a level of basic amenity, enjoyment and fun.
The infinite colour variations possible using recycled HDPE will produce a family of beach huts that are engaging and elegant contributors to the Singapore shoreline whilst telling the story of an imaginative reuse of a plastic material that is part of our everyday lives but which given its disposable nature is contributing to the destruction of ocean life and our environment.
Singapore is an island therefore a maritime nation reliant on the trade that has driven its economy since its early settlers. SPARK’s beach hut is a clear statement that Singapore cares about its maritime environment and its heritage and is prepared to seek and invest in innovative ways to protect the ocean’s ecosystem for future generations and the long-term sustainability of the planet.
SPARK director Stephen Pimbley said,
“Thought leadership is embedded into the DNA of SPARK, it provides a depth of insight into internal and external conversations that expand our skill sets and facilitate meaningful connections with what we believe is the primary objective of the role of the architect as a medium and mirror of social, environmental and civic values.
We develop compelling points of view that are intriguing, innovative, inspiring and importantly in the case of the beach hut ideas that carry a very serious environmental message.”
Total GFA (sqm): 12 sqm
Innovation and Architecture: SPARK
Project Director: Stephen Pimbley
Team: Lim Wenhui, Luca Maccarinelli, Haozhou Zhou
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