CALTROPe is a plan that promotes mangrove forest growth in order to prevent entire ecosystems from washing away. Budapest-based collective Szövetség'39 teamed up with a group of scientists to understand how mangroves act as natural dams, and subsequently devised a modular system made up of rope-like structures that help the salt-tolerant plants grow. The project was recently awarded the Grand Prix at the International Architecture Competition organized by the Jacques Rougerie Foundation in the category ‘Architecture and sea level rise.’
Anna Baróthy of Szövetség’39 worked with biologist and diver Gergő Balázs, designer Janka Csernák and scientist Viktor Grónás to create a solution for the increasing rate of agricultural land loss, climate change and the consequent sea level rise. After conducting a study of the plants, the team concluded that mangroves act as a natural breakwater against tides by trapping river sediment in their roots. Their findings showed that the delta rivers could have a crucial role in compensating land loss caused by the sea level rise.
The team came up with a proposal that would serve as an incubator for young mangrove plants and help them grow until they reach full size and are able to form a natural dam. CALTROPe is a combination of the words “caltrop” (a kind of water chestnut) and “rope.” The rope-like structure would be made of specially designed curved shapes combined as modules. They would be built from a combination of concrete and organic materials and are expected to crumble away after 15 to 20 years.