The slow violence of environmental degradation caused by climate change directly challenges the resilience of human inhabitation. Resilience in this case is the ability for architecture to persist in the face of environmental stress and strain, integrating itself and its occupants into the surrounding landscape through responsive programs, structures, materials, and systems. In the coastal regions of the world, environmental stresses are especially acute, for sea level rise, subsidence, and the increasing severity of storms continually threaten homes and cities with inundation. To break the expensive build-flood-rebuild cycle that plagues coastal communities, an ethical-shift must occur in the design of buildings and cities that embraces adaptation to the water instead of avoidance.
The Oystower | Oystown project answers this ethical imperative within the context of coastal Louisiana, testing the concept of biomimicry as a means to design resilience at the scale of a dwelling and the scale of a community. Modeled formally and functionally after oysters and their accretive reefs, the design proposal deploys bio-engineered oyster reefs as both a structural and conceptual foundation at these two scales. Synthesizing the oyster + tower and the oyster + town, respectively, the Oystower | Oystown project stewards the health of both the surrounding coastal ecosystem and its human inhabitants through biomimetic design.