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Fig: 1 - Land-based sources (such as agricultural run-off, discharge of nutrients and pesticides and untreated sewage including plastics) account for approximately 80% of marine pollution, globally.


The planet earth is made up of land, sea, weather, and life forms. The variability in form across the planet has created different types of habitats with characteristic features and life forms. Of these, water habitats occupy 75% of the Earth's surface.

The presence of water makes our planet, one-of-its-kind, and is responsible for regulating the life cycle on Earth. These large bodies of water contain a unique ecosystem and diverse, marine life that predates humankind.

The evolution of humans over time, led to them adapting and settling in multiple habitats over time. But as a side-effect of our extreme pursuits of progress, actions taken by humans have had a negative implication on their surrounding environments.

Since all habitats are linked and interdependent, the degradation of one will have devastating effects on all the other ecosystems and their well-being. How can we iterate the repercussions of human activity in time to conserve nature?

Fig: 2 - Plastic debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals.


The degradation of the environment has put several habitats and their life forms at risk of extinction. Among the many habitats, oceans are at the highest risk. Human activities have been the leading cause of its deterioration.

Marine pollution is caused by trash and pollutants that are released from land into water, by humans. The ocean chemistry is affected by chemicals that disturb the delicate balance of the ecosystem. The pollutants that affect marine life cause harm to us too, since aquatic animals are part of our food chain and lifestyle.

The livelihood of a huge part of the population is also dependent on these ecosystems which has a detrimental impact on our socio-economic development as well. Our well-being is connected to the quality of living environments around us, and this fact has to be spread among the public.

How can we enable interaction between marine life and the people in a controlled environment, to develop a connection of consciousness and care?

Fig: 3 - Water construction is tricky infrastructure that has to be able to withstand any harsh conditions arising in its unique location.


The oceans have the potential to support material progress on a large scale, and so, the exploration, understanding, and conservation of this system are essential for our survival.

Brief: The challenge is to design an ocean research centre in the marine habitat.

It will be an institutional centre for studying endangered marine life and promoting biodiversity. The entire construction must be done on or underwater. Part of the centre that will be underwater, must be anchored to the sea bed. The construction must not negatively impact marine life or coral reefs in the area.

The aim is to design an institute that can help us understand the marine ecosystem better, by observing them in their native habitats. The intention is to make people aware of the struggles faced by this ecosystem due to the human way of life. The institute will be open to the public for certain periods, to increase awareness.


Concept: The construction of the structure on or underwater will require specific materials and technology to achieve results. The comfort of an indoor environment must not come at the cost of ocean habitat degradation.

Harmony: The design must establish some harmony or connection with the surroundings while having outstanding features.

Sustainable: Reduce the negative impact of design on the environment, by improving building performance, reducing waste, and ensuring comfort for occupants.

Context: The design must respond to the (existing) site conditions. The wider socio-cultural, economic and environmental settings are to be considered in the design approach.


Brazil is bound by the Atlantic coast and harbors the majority of the Earth’s species. The geography of the country with endemic species unique to the region. Environmental degradation and habitat loss will affect the global ecosystem.

The site is located in Fernando De Noronha, Brazil. It is an archipelago consisting of 21 islands, part of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, designated as a national marine park. Marine life is the main attraction of the islands and there are many coastal tourism activities like boat tours, diving, and so on to explore the depths.

The site is 400 metres from Pontinha beach shore. Unrestrained tourist activity in the area is affecting the coastal and marine habitats. A marine facility can safeguard the quality of the oceans as well as provide a safe outlet for public exploration.

Site area = 4355 sq.m
Height restriction = 8 metres
Coordinates = 3°50'59.3"S 32°23'14.0"W


The following programmatic outline is the point to begin your design at. You can add more functions and activities in relevance or modify the above design program.

Institution wing: 55% of built area

Research labs ~ 50 sq.m each
Rehabilitation centre ~ 100 sq.m
Training center ~ 400 sq.m
Staff offices and Services ~ 200 sq.m
Storage ~ 100 sq.m
Public Wing: 45% of built area
Museum ~ 200 sq.m
Viewing Deck ~ 200 sq.m
Underwater Viewing Gallery ~ 200 sq.m
Administration and reception ~ 100 sq.m