Archulus, 2000
Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK
Full project published in: Disturbing Territories
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Archulus is based on calculus and architecture. This project was a collaboration with a mathematician from University College London.
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Archulus posits a new landscape at the point where the local river meets the sea at Aldeburgh. The river is separated from the sea by a small spit of land, which is prone to the rapid erosion; one day soon the spit will suddenly disappear and the coastline will flood. The proposition creates a series of almost cocked and loaded pieces that suddenly at the moment and point of breach explode into action. This landscape creates a new surface for plant and animal colonisation. The flood shields resonate in the territory of harpooning landscapes linked to each other through an enchanted tectonic loom embroidering and weaving spaces. The architecture is modelled using real-time data steams and mesh networks. The design evolves as communication devolves in the way we interact with each other and the environment.
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Review by Professor Neil Spiller, University of Greenwich
Harpoonic Landscapes

In the later Archulus project Shaun picks another delicate ecology, teetering on the edge of oblivion. The sudden critical act is again used as a trigger for action. Like the sodden tusks that are suddenly enlivened into movement the Archulus project is enlivened by physical collapse. In this certain area of East Anglia in England a small spit of land that separates the sea from the local river is being eroded from both sides simultaneously. At a certain point in the not so distant future the spit will collapse and its primitive flood defence will be breached. This moment Shaun picks for the sudden genesis of a new landscape that becomes into being in the time it takes for a series of harpoons to fire their elegant spikes into the sea. These harpoons then anchor the new landscape surface. The surface then, in effect, terraforms itself and encourages a rich mix of new colonising flora and fauna. Out of catastrophe a rebirth takes place, not the same as before but different, and the consequent flooding of the old spit’s hinterland is averted.

These two projects are a harbinger for a meaningful ecological (both machinic and natural) audit of specific sites and the development of a series of tactics and protocols that can deliver to architects a full understanding of their sites and of the agents, provocateurs, cybernetic systems and disparate observers and drifters that influence and use it in some way. Modern architecture has currently failed to provide architects with these now very necessary tools for them to create architectures that are fully in tune with the wide gamut of artificial and natural ecological conditions. For those of us interested in the architecture for the new cyberised, biomachined inhabitants of the twenty-first century Shaun’s research and propositions are a beacon in a still dark landscape of the future.