University of Moratuwa (UoM), Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture, Moratuwa
BYOB is a humble architectural intervention that would help the fishing community in Dikkowita, Sri Lanka to experiment with innovative applications of unused… more
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BYOB is a humble architectural intervention that would help the fishing community in Dikkowita, Sri Lanka to experiment with innovative applications of unused waste and new material possibilities. This implementation of low-tech sustainability would also enhance the skills of the community that are boat building and fishnet knitting/weaving. Also, such similar skill sets will be shared among the younger generations and other inhabitants of the community. As the initial implementation, a simple structure that almost every one of the community uses will be constructed as it will be beneficial in many ways, which is a bus stop. Starting from that, people can use the gained and enhanced skills for other building typologies that can use the same low-tech construction methodologies.
Ever since the older days of Sri Lanka, the creation of a bus stop has always been a collective work of the natives and was often built, in remembrance of the ones we have lost. It portrays the cohesiveness of the community as it gathered everyone starting from village masons to monks of the community together. These interventions were born even while being bound to economical restrictions and technological limitations. What we are about to see is the beginning of such a story.
This story revolves around the Hamilton canal which is a 14.5 km canal that runs from Puttalam to Colombo and it runs across many urban fishing villages. This canal forms the western borderline of a wetland known as Muthurajawela marsh. The marsh is noteworthy for its unique and rich biodiversity which is now slowly facing its destruction as hundreds of tons of garbage are being dumped in the waterways from the canal and few areas inside the marsh such as Ja-Ela, Bopitiya, and Dikkowita to name a few. The canal was once a part of the daily routine of the inhabitants but today they fear to set foot in the wetland and canal. As a response, the simple formula of BYOB will be the micro-level intervention of reviving what they have lost. Dikkowita is the city where a bigger impact can be made as the density is higher, so it will be the starting point of the initiative which draws inspiration from the previous community practices.
This intervention could engage the natives and increase their interactions with the waters yet again making it a part of their lives. The logic of being on the water is beneficial in cases where having a new structure on the street level is not an option and in situations where a new structure would create nothing but an overfilled urban life. The structure and materials can be moved effortlessly along the canal from one place to another as it runs 14.5km straight. Hence BYOB could be the archetype of all their future applications.
Segregation of plastic bottles
Plastic remains are the main cause for the degradation of mangroves in the wetland. As the first step, the villagers will segregate and sort plastic bottles from the garbage dump sites.
Salvaging the wrecked
Wrecked and old boats are once in a while left alone in the canal when they become unrevivable but materials like timber planks and Bamboo poles can be retrieved from the fishing boats and can be used to construct the main structure.
Fishnet knitting & weaving
Unused fishing nets will be re-weaved and revived by the natives with that skillset, so they can be used for the envelope of the structure and bags will be made out of nets and will be filled with used empty plastic bottles which are to be used as the floating apparatus.
Making the floating mechanism
Once the empty bottles are sorted gathered, they will be filled into bags made out of nets and stitched. The mechanism is a low-tech primitive method that can be easily executed by a group of fishermen since they are familiar with the application. The air inside the empty bottles will allow the structure to float like any other inflatable boat.
Making of the structure
The floor and the structure will be made out of revived timber planks and bamboo poles from the wrecked boats. Boatbuilders and villagers with similar skills will work collectively in this stage. Every part of the structure is designed to be carried around easily by a single person or two.
An outrigger is a lateral support float that is fastened to one or both sides of the main boat hull in order to improve the stability of the boat. By drawing inspiration from that, the same element has been introduced to the structure in order to improve its stability and to avoid unnecessary toppling. This can be easily fabricated as the community is familiar with the application.