Southsea – Adaptable Community in a predicted flooded environment


Tutors Peter Rae and Katy Beinart tutored me over a period of two academic terms for my final year Architecture (BArch) Project. Here is the first studio brief link.


My initial investigations began through diagramming and modelling coastal locations globally. These investigations gave me specific themes and qualities that I then exposed Portsmouth and Southsea common to.

After exposing and implementing these themes onto Southsea common I begin to propose architectural elements that could form a framework for a productive landscape.

This framework is proposed in the present day but has been designed to be inhabitted in the future. The long term outcome is not known, but different outcomes have been tested manipulated and designed.


Bering sea, Alaska

Initial investigations through diagramming global locations gave me key themes that I continued and expanded onto Southsea. Themes from the Bering sea were concentration and transition.


Aral Sea, Kazhakstan

Diagramming the rise and fall of the sea levels in the Aral sea gave me themes of contraction and expansion of water in adverse environments.


Aral sea, Kazhakstan

Diagramming and understanding more of the image I began to consider how flows of water begin to affect such environments. I modelled these in plaster to continue these themes.


Rakika river, New Zealand

This river began to inform me how a flooded environment might begin to flow through certain areas as a river. I initially began this by drawing and considering areas of flux and static. These themes I then modelled in plaster, I did this by filling gallons and then pumping plaster into them with syringes, this gave me an example of how such a flow of water may flow through such an environment.


Portsmouth and Southsea, Coastal analysis.

Continuing themes discussed earlier I began to diagram and analyse the site in a similar fashion. I started this by gathering data about flooding and the distribution of the different urban typologies in Portsmouth.


Portsmouth and Southsea, Flooding and flow analysis.

The analysis I began to gather Data from a range of different sources. The environmental agency gave me flooding data alongside which helped me to predict flooding patterns over long periods of time. I looked into Nautical charts with tidal flows and depth data. I then began to speculate and diagram how Portsmouth and Southsea may react to a rise in sea level over 100 years. In doing so I came up with three main sites that are at the forefront of the flooding as they are areas which have the fastest flowing water and biggest contrasts between flows and sea levels.


Portsmouth and Southsea, Breakwater Intervention

These predictions led me to an intervention at a large scale on Southsea common initially. This is a breakwater structure that would be able to form artificial land over a long period of time. This would be achieved by a gab ion wall structure that encourages deposition along its walls. This as a system would be able to be replicated along the most affected areas shown in the diagrams in the drawing above.

Analysis – Local

Local Flooding impacts

The rise in sea level is shown here to affect a wide range of Southsea over an extended period of time. Portsmouths highest point is at approximately + 6 m above sea level.

Design process

Spatial and Site Analysis

Positioning my proposed design onto Southsea common. I considered which areas have the highest contrast and are most vulnerable when the area is going to be most flooded. The jutting out and exposed nature of the site is my chosen area.

Design process 2

Sight lines and Route integration

Having considered what area I am going to be proposing my design, I then begin to cut and manipulate the void. I begin by setting rules in my design in saying that a minimum of + 5 m above existing ground level is needed. Sight lines must either be entirely considered or enhanced from existing buildings, and routes must either be entirely integrated or not interrupted. This began to develop my form further.


Sight lines and design manipulation

The existing views form the residential areas around the edge over looking Southsea common, were key in my design proposal. I looked at how my design would not interrupt the existing views. Compositions of views and framing certain key aspects began to develop how my facade may vary from one side to another. I researched how different buildings framed views, such as the Scottish Parliament on the top floor and how old english traditions of Haha’s began to form my design.

Model – Sketch 1

1 : 500 Model and sketch process

Modelling and sketching different iterations informed me as to how I may begin to planning a variety of different spaces.

Model – Sketch 2

1 : 500 Model and sketch process

After many sketches and models I had designed and tweaked my ideas to be able to fit into the rules and frameworks that I initially set up in my investigations.


Material strategy

A material strategy I then developed alongside sketching. A range of different materials are used across the entire design. They are strongly linked with the functionality and are integrated with the site in a variety of different ways.


Simple Programmatic relationships

Laying out programmes after considering different areas that are going to be affected by flooding.

1 : 1250 Plan

Relationship to coastline

Showing the relationship to the seafront and Clarence pier.

Over View

Axonametric Overview

1 : 500 Plan

Gabion wall Plan ground floor

1 : 500 Plan

+ 3.5 M Plan

1 : 500 Plan

+ 5 M

1 : 500 Plan

+ 8.2 m

1 : 500 Plan

+ 12 m

1 : 500 roof plan

Roof Plan

1 : 200 Plan

First floor plan

1 : 200 Plan

Second floor plan

1 : 200 Plan

Third floor plan

Adaptable / adjustable spaces

Construction framework with adjustable spaces

These spaces have been designed in a way that they are adaptable and they are easily able to be added onto. Different programmes can be added onto in different configurations.

1 : 50 Broken section 2.3m x 420 mm

Section through main gabion structure and adjustable space

This drawing shows how the adjustable system can be placed onto global locations. It also shows how the design is modular and is able to accommodate for different uses. The facades have also been shown in this drawing as the facade facing Southsea is a soft material and so blends in with the existing vistas from the current buildings in Southsea. The opposite side of this is a perforated metal material that will decay over time and so merge into the future decayed view from the sea/common area.


Arrival by boat

Approaching from the solent my design currently is quite hidden and is not immediately visible.



Walking under the structure you see the main adjustable spaces above you. The productive communal gardens are visible from below and you then walk past the building and onto Southsea.


View back down Osbourne road

Looking back down Osbourne road you see the structure blending in with the existing environment as the facade is a soft and varied surface, as to not be too much of an impact on the existing site.

Future system

Adjustable system, that adapts to flooded environments 

The system currently is used as a simple element, however over a long period of time this system can be added to.  As this is added to the modular system begins to grow.  Varying programmes are adopted and they are then added to.  The outcome is not fully known however I can speculate. Naval traditions and the rise of sea levels tend to suggest that a naval community may exist.

+ 100 years Perspective

View from Naval super tanker

You approach the structure on a naval super tanker, you see it as a system that has been added to over a long period of time. Parts which had previous uses have started to fall into deca, the entire structure seems to have a naval feel about it even from such a long distance. As you approach you then begin to see certain areas that may not be what you expect.

+ 100 years Perspective looking along system

Naval community?

Looking along the structure the entire area is flooded, the structure then continues onto the distance. The navy have now taken over as the world is now predominantly under water. The outcome is not known for this structure but I have speculated as to what may be the outcome.


One thought on “Southsea – Adaptable Community in a predicted flooded environment

  1. Pingback: PUSH – Final Images « pushstudio

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