PLATFORM FLATS

POETICS OF BUILDING :: WATER AND THE POETIC

Advanced Design Spring 2016 :: Coleman Coker (1 Semester)

Team :: Asher Intebi, Ashley Nguyen, Amy McDonnold, Connie Chang, Estrella Juarez, Evan Greulich, Kelsey Kaiser, Kevin Keating, Marissa Jordan, Michelle Cantu, Nevin Blum, Raquel Royal

This studio focused on complex living systems along the eastern coastline of Texas, where cultural and ecological systems often collide. The team's research of this rich system was meant to develop a critical place-based foundation for the design approach. The intention was to advance a methodology for an environmentally based approach, one that regards the unique coastal landscape as a primary driver. The work undertaken lead  towards poiesis (poetic making).

We began by designing individually and then collectively to gather ideas so that one design was developed and eventually tested full scale through a building process. The design/build program was two floating platforms located in the wetlands of Sea Rim State Park on the Gulf Coast near Port Arthur, TX. Biologists, ecologists and bird watchers will use them to conduct environmental research. These two structures will also double as campsites. In that regard:

  • Material selection was of importance since the platforms will sit in brackish water (salt content) that has detrimental effect on metals and wood.
  • Flotation systems research was a factor in terms of load calculation and cost efficiency. 
  • Anchoring systems were rigorously researched due to the muddy contents of the bottom of the marsh.
  • Platform Flats sits three miles away from any accessible road, the only way to reach the site is by boat. The platforms needed to be readily float into such a remote location.  
  • The platform needed to be large enough to sleep four campers. 
  • The deck of the platform needed to be designed in a way that accommodated tent tie-downs and supports
  • The platform needed a remote toilet facility. Upon departure persons using the sites must take out their waste in portable containers. A portion of the platform will require privacy shielding where the portable toilet will be located. 
  • Design needed to consider alligators so they cannot get access to the decks for sunning. Sides of the decks needed to be "alligator proof" 
  • The platform needed to be designed for little to no maintenance once installed