In the San Francisco Bay, water levels may rise 55 inches over the next 100 years. That doesn’t sound like much initially, but around the coastline, that makes a huge impact. High water levels are a liability. The challenge for the entrants of the recent Rising Tides competition was to take this liability and make it an asset. The winning proposals include inflatable dikes, laser levels, water recycling, habitat restoration, and bioswale street systems.

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Originally slotted to endow one winning entry with $25,000, the competition’s jury has decided to split the prize amongst six separate entries. Says Juror Walter Hood: “San Francisco Bay is not the place for a single idea. Taken as a whole, the six winning entries begin to tell a story about adaptation to sea level rise.”

One chapter of this story is e, a proposal by Faulders Studio of Berkeley, CA to line the shore with lasers. These beams would sit atop wave-powered bases, delineating the possible future water line of the greater bay area. As a constant reminder of the physical effect of high water levels, the project seeks to catalyze action against climate change by making its effects a near-reality.

Another mind-boggling solution to the high-water mark is Folding Water, by Kuth Ranieri Architects. The proposal is an alternative to the traitional barrier dike: this one placed in the middle of the bay, maintaining current water levels with a series of pump walls and artificial estuaries. It looks invisible: reminiscient of what we hope our future impact to be: undetectable.

+ Rising Tides

+ Kuth Ranieri

+ Faulders Studio