A Preserved Current | Isle of Portland, UK | Unit 21 | 2022


A Preserved Current assesses how buildings that have been ‘frozen’ to preserve, through the listing process, can be adapted to satisfy the needs of the ‘current’ environment it exists in?

200 meters off Portland’s coast sits The Mulberry Harbour Phoenixes. Two grade II listed caissons, built as part of the artificial Mulberry Harbours. Part of the Normandy landings during World War II. The caissons remain inaccessible to the public and haven’t had a usage case since WW2.

The design proposes a library offshore, restoring the use of The Mulberry Harbour Phoenix Caissons and repopulating them with redesigned caissons.

The logic of the caisson and the programmatic features of the library have been redesigned to respond to Portland’s social issues. The result is a culmination of algorithmic responses and systems that restore the value and presence of the caisson within Portland and reform the typology of libraries to make their usage case, architectural value, and social relevance current.

Embedding the Current

The project employs a series of algorithmic design processes as design tools that redesign the caisson and library to respond to the current.


These drawings highlight the caissons at multiple scales and at different views, each caisson has been designed to ‘be current’ whilst remaining true to its original heritage.

The Architectural Composition

The design responses, federate into an architectural ensemble that asserts that the heritage and quality of a space is determined by how it performs and how it is experienced.