In response to an international design competition for a marine research center in Bali, architects Alfonso Lopez and Duncan Pendlebury of Maine-based architectural studio Solus 4 developed an energy-efficient design with a sculptural form inspired by tsunami waves — the same subject of research for the proposed facility. The undulating shape of the organic building would also reflect site-specific conditions so as to optimize passive solar conditions and use of sustainable systems such as rainwater collection and tidal wave energy generation.

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos
rendering of curvaceous white building

The international design competition, which was hosted almost a decade ago, was created to address the need for tsunami research and preparation in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Though it has not yet been built, Solus 4’s entry is notable for its unique design and proposal for a stationary, in-water research center. The 2,500-square-foot Marine Research Center would be located just 150 meters off the shore of Kuta beach in southwest Bali to serve as a highly visible landmark of sustainable architecture and marine research.

Related: Pod-like Survival Capsule protects those who can’t flee a tsunami

rendering of curvy white building with boardwalks
rendering of underwater portion of a building

In addition to housing underwater research labs and lodgings for scientists, the marine research center would also include public and semi-public areas. Additional amenities include an aquatic garden, a seawater pool, a swimming pool terrace, a bar and auditorium. Select spaces would be located both above and below water for dramatic effect and to take advantage of beautiful landscape views through low-E glass.

rendering of auditorium with ocean views
rendering of people in a lab room with underwater views

“Underwater earthquakes — the most common type in Indonesia — with epicenters close to coast lines, form the conceptual basis of the architectural proposal,” the firm explained in a project statement. “The design uses the initial elliptical pattern and cross-section diagram of the tsunami wave, one focus of the center’s research and prevention efforts, as the morphology generators and guides of programmatic organization. The design is both aesthetically imposing and seamlessly integrated into its aquatic natural environment.”

+ Solus 4

Images by Tangram 3ds via Solus 4

aerial rendering of curvy glowing building on the ocean