Monday, November 2, 2015

Nature Forces Collapse on Floating Pyramid

After the collapse, the raft structure is all that remains of the floating Marine Sanctuary Center, undergoing high tidal waves this past weekend.
The community's concerns that the floating structure would not hold up through typhoon season, were validated this past weekend.  On Saturday evening, October 31, the Marine Sanctuary Center collapsed.  Floating for a short five months since June, the structure was impaired by high tidal waves on Friday and Saturday.  The fishing community observed on Friday, that the waves were higher and stronger, and the tidal forces were putting noticeable strain on the structure.  By Saturday evening, the pyramid fully collapsed (unoccupied) and the pieces were dislodged and washed ashore.  The next morning, eight fish wardens (bantay dagat) collected the washed-up mahogany wall panels and bamboo framing.  On Monday, the director of research, Geraldine, and I went to the site to see the damage.  Upon our approach, Nong Corro, the fish warden president, was towing in the pieces from the collapse.  What remains floating and tied to the anchoring system is the bamboo and barrel raft; however, that too is likely to dismantle as the impaired structure continues to endure tidal forces.

This unfortunate event is evident that the forces of nature (most notably water) are powerful.  And in witnessing such an event, it is our duty as architects to work within our limits for the health, safety, and welfare to serve the general public.  It is important that we learn from this ambitious project; we must design and engineer our structures for lasting positive impact to the community, instead of relishing in short-term achievements.  Estudio Damgo III set out to design, build, and float their structure; and they accomplished just that.  It is in the wake of the aftermath, that we see the value in designing for long-term goals and understand the full objectives for whom the design serves.

Discussions in the university architecture department are underway to remedy this situation swiftly.  We're taking input from the community and salvaging the intact pieces in order to rebuild the structure on firm ground.  A reassuring response by Foundation University President, Victor Sinco, highlights our commitment and partnership with the barangay council and community members, stating:

"It’s unfortunate that the structure collapsed over the weekend. But let’s not despair, part of the project's priorities is to illustrate the sustainability aspects of each project. So let’s get the community to invest some labor while we can provide the materials." - Victor Sinco
Nong Corro, fish warden president, collecting the washed ashore debris from the collapsed structure.
Nong Corro towing in the mahogany wall panel.  Flattened structure remains anchored and floating in the distance.
Mahogany wall panels piled along the road.  Salvaged materials can be used to rebuild the structure on land.
Geraldine peeks inside one of the blue barrels, which had washed ashore.  She is a research biologist and sees that limpets have attached to the barrels where the caps once were, indicating that the barrels had lost there seal for a duration of time, and could be one of the causes of induced strain on the structure.
The photo shows a missing cap to the blue barrel.  Limpets have attached inside the opening, indicating the seals have been missing for a while and barrels would be completely filled with water, putting strain on the structure.

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