bali marine research centre


competition, indonesia

mangrove tsunami stand



The mangrove stand, a vital wetland habitat for a diverse range of ocean species and an important aspect in the prevention of coastal erosion.

The mangrove ecosystem is under threat both in Indonesia and across the world from human intervention. Over population in coastal areas, combined with logging and shrimp farming has resulted in the unprecedented loss of this valuable coastal habitat, as much as 60-80% over the past four decades.

The mangrove forest is nature’s best defence against the danger of a tsunami, absorbing shock and dissipating the waves. The concept for the Bali MRC is to create an architectural mangrove.

Located in the eulittoral, intertidal zone, the mangrove adapts to exploit its habitat. Their wide spreading roots establish a firm hold in the soft substrate, they create their own environment. They prop themselves above the water line with stilt roots, brace themselves with buttress roots and breathe through pneumatophores like a snorkel. Bali MRC takes its cue from all of these structural characteristics creating an intricate mesh of spatial conditions.

The MRC is formed of a series of six “roots”, interweaving with each other above and below the waterline. The roots form spaces of varying protection and enclosure for use as docks and exhibition pools.

The visitor and the scientist arrive at different docks and circulate the building in a complex sequence of layers. Public and private spaces are interlinked enabling each to view and interact with the other as part of the building experience. On arrival, the visitor is taken on a journey above and below the water and, crucially at the level of the tidal zone. They glimpse the scientists at work in the lab, gaze at vistas of the sea bed, inspect the aquatic pools, stand high on the crow’s nest with a panoramic view of the ocean and relax in the café with the staff watching the power of the waves breaking over the landscape of the building.