[Portfolio, B.Arch] RIBA Part II / Year 5

[Portfolio, B.Arch]  RIBA Part II


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Owned by the National Trust, and protected as an area of outstanding natural beauty, a considerable  large area of Poole Harbour is a heaven for the perservation of Nature. Yet the constant research to seek energy does not encounter any obstacle in creating Oil Wells in this area of natural outstanding beauty. The projet seeks to create awareness of this duality between environment and energy.

The project started by Mapping the trails in Poole and Studland which are part of the Poole harbour trails project as well as the trails in Arne Nature Reserve Area.

The Pool Harbour Trails Project aims to provide easily recognized routes for walking and cycling around Poole Harbour by creating a new National Trail. Furthermore, it s ambition is to create a popular open access circular trail around Poole Harbour between the two ends of the Sandbanks Ferry. The trail would comprise roads and paths with alternative routes suitable for walking, cycling. Their AIM is to form a ‘hub’ with additional routes leading to local attractions. However, at the present, they are unable to achieve their goals since one of the main difficulties The Poole Harbour Trails Project faces is that a main part of the circuit they want to create cannot be easily transversed. This not transversed part is between the Shell Bay Ferry Terminal from Sandbanks to Studland along Shell Bay.

Further research on the area lead to the discovery of the oil wells that not only play an important role for the whole of UK but in a very interesting way, the fact that they exist within this natural setting. Visiting the area, those oil wells are not clearly noticeable due to the fact that they are very well hidden, deservingly so. It is the fact that these Oil wells co-exist in a Nature Reserved Area. Is it appropriate or in-appropriate? There exists a contradiction of nature and oil. 2 completely opposite elements. Nevertheless oil is a natural element of high significance. Is it wrong and ‘‘UNNATURAL’’ that those Oil Wells in Poole Harbour co-exist within nature? Therefore the argument of the ”Natural (but)  Unnatural” within the Natural begun, and from this point on the project begun to develop.

Research focusing on the oil industry in the UK and Globally and its importance as a major source of energy, revealed that the Wessex basin with its large Wytch farm in Poole not only dominates the onshore oil production of the UK, but also it is the largest onshore oil field in Europe. Therefore, a great economic importance for the UK. Last but not least, Wytch Farm has an environmental award from the Queen for its minimum impact on the environment.

The walk from Shell Bay Ferry Terminal to Goathorn Peninsula and further to Arne Nature Reserve is beautiful with full views of landscape and nature. This is an unusual and special landscape where you can enjoy a vast expanse of open heathland and old oak woodland. However, as already mentioned above, it is not accessible due to poor site accessibility and ground conditions such as patches of soft mud. More importantly a large part of the area is private.

The field was discovered by the nationalised British Gas Corporation in December 1973 and began producing oil in 1979. As part of the privatisation of British Gas in the 1980s Wytch Farm was sold to BP which took over as operator in 1984. Note that in the Second World War the South Haven Peninsula was used for military training. The area has been cleared of missiles and mines etc, but renewed erosion could possibly reveal some dangerous weapon that was missed. Individual geological, geographical and environmental visitors, field leaders and Geology students visiting the area from all over Great Britain and abroad – make their own risk assessments and take note of weather and tide conditions on the day.

Considering the existing conditions of the area, the project looks and proposes solutions that can contribute to the Poole harbour trails project as well as to highlight the importance of oil in our lives and to bring environmental awareness in ways that oil is extracted, considering the Environmental Achievement of Wytch Farm Oil Field. Furthermore, it aims to provide an opportunity to the people to appreciate the beauty of the area. The initial idea was a pedestrian bridge making the non-accessible areas accessible and design decisions were driven with a focus of creating a new trail, by proposing a pedestrian bridge making the non-accessible areas accessible. Then it became what new is being revealed with this new trail. The project is not about a trail only but what it is exposed with this trail and how a trail can become informative. The trail is about discovering the hidden significant element within Poole through a journey of exploration which ends in a radical place that can be used for educators, researchers, the locals, tourists. And since the oil wells are not accessible, this project aims to open them through the new journey and the building, by making private areas public and highlighting the importance of oil industry and energy and based on the environmental achievement of Wytch farm to promote sustainable ways of oil extraction. So oil is natural but it is how it is extracted that integrates the contradiction between – Nature…Oil is Natural – The project is about Science and visitors and brings them together through a journey that explores and educates.
It is located on the tip of Goathorn Penisula (Goathorn Point) – very close to the existing oilfield for emphasizing it’s purpose, and to be visible from a distance to Brownsea Island and to Poole Harbour as well as from the water where many water activities take place within the area, like canoying , sailing etc.



Visiting the Science of Natural Oil


One thought on “[Portfolio, B.Arch] RIBA Part II / Year 5

  1. Some very beautiful studies of Nature & Energy in an architectural context. Poole harbour is still the place I new as a child sailing around Brownsea Island! Well done Maria.

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