As sea levels rise, the increasing risk of inundation and erosion threatens to deteriorate our coastal landscapes and their intrinsic value, in both a material and immaterial sense. In an urban context, this is exacerbated by an encroaching static edge. As is the case for Newcastle Beach, located within the city centre of Newcastle.
The project, Blur the Line', engages in a complexity of issues, opening up many trajectories for design thinking and intervention. Rather than offering a solution, the project proposes to rethink the parameters of a beach environment and relieve the anthropogenic pressures from both seaward and landward directions, giving the beach room to breathe and exhale as a dynamic system.
Research and exploration has been undertaken in collaboration with another student to develop a shared design response that proposes to adapt the built environment to a dynamic coastal landscape. The project diverges to address two focus areas, the real estate value of the land behind and in this proposal, the coastal infrastructure along the front line.
This part of the project engages in a geological discovery, presented through artefacts that capture changes to the landscape at key moments in time. The design strategy adapts the Japanese method of Kintsugi, where broken ceramics are repaired using gold leaf resin, highlighting the breakage and adding value through the process. Utilising existing phenomena of weathering and decay, discrete acupuntcures are made to the built infrastructure, creating opportunity for landscape to re-emerge as strands of gold through the widening cracks.
Fragments of material become part of a layered geologic landscape, that becomes overgrown and blends with the landscape. Soft and hard terrains being to merge across dune and intertidal zones, creating a buffer and providing a blended landscape for human and non-human communities to co-habit. The place continues to be transformed by moments of growth and decay, curated by acts of maintenance and care that blur the line between landscape and the built environment.