BIOLOGICAL FILTRATION MATRIX
Spring 2014, senior design studio,
Hydrological and ecological center in Loxahatchee, Florida
The intent of of this design was to create an artificial filtration mosaic designed to protect the biodiversity of the ecological environment of the Everglades. A series of limestone berms and labyrinth weirs separate regions of water with particular treatments for testing, while controlling variables such as water depth, speed, and nutrient content. In turn, these berms house modular treatment and scientific facilities. Retaining walls contain embedded scientific and educational facilities, allowing researchers and visitors to travel the length of the matrix and experience how the changing plant life affects phosphorus levels and ecosystem health.
A matrix of four distinct natural-mechanized filtration methods tests the effectiveness of the systems and their subsequent combinations to filter phosphorus and other harmful chemicals out of the water. The main retaining walls, which runs the full length of the matrix, contains research and educational floors, connected through a series of cores and a long central ramp that travels the length of the structure, bisecting the floorplates.
The central ramp is at a slight decline, following the slope of the site as it uses gravity to move water through the filtration matrix. It is open to the elements and contains a series of bioswales, which collect the rainwater to prevent flooding and purify the water before re-entering the ecosystem. At various intervals, floorplates containing scientific and educational program ‘peel off’ the ramp.