A greener alternative to concrete coastal defences

TetraPOT is a sustainable sea defense system made of concrete, organic materials and plants. The typical sea defense system is composed of man-made concrete objects, known as tetrapods. Due to the constant thrashing of water, these structures eventually erode. At the same time, natural sea defense systems, such as trees, are often inadequate, particularly against the extreme weather associated with climate change. TetraPOT combines the advantages of both, providing an innovative concrete sea defense system that contains and nurtures the growth of plant life. As plants grow inside out from within the TetraPOT, the roots will intertwine and gradually become a natural sea defense. Randomly distributed TetraPOTs along coastlines will eventually interlock to create a long-lasting sea defense of growing trees and roots that help keep the blocks in place. The shape and placement will enable TetraPOTs to interlock with each other and form a structured web. The design not only prevents soil erosion, but also helps to protect and create a natural habitat. It is not only a defense, but also an ecosystem.

Sheng-Hung Lee

  • Sheng-Hung Lee
    National Cheng Kung University Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

    Sheng-Hung Lee is a designer, maker and educator. He is inspired by multiple domains of knowledge, different perspectives, and he thrives on creating new value for clients in multi-disciplinary teams. He is trained as an industrial designer and electrical engineer, and his approach to problem solving is influenced by his passion for how design and technology impact on and can be integrated into society. He has collaborated with IDSA (Industrial Designers Society of America) to inform their their strategy, service and user experience for the Asia market, this work was recently been published in the book <IDSA Blueprint in Asia>. Sheng-Hung has been focusing on organization design that creates systemic impact. He was invited to be a jury for multiple international design competition including IDEA, Spark Design Award, IDA Award and A’ Design Award and Competition. He also worked as a researcher at the National Science Council in Taiwan and is a member of respected institutions such as Taiwan Society of Technology and Sociology, Phi Tau Phi Scholastic Honor Society, and China Technical Consultants Inc. Sheng-Hung graduated with a double Bachelor’s degree (Hon.) in Industrial Design and Electrical Engineering from National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), Taiwan. His work has won prestigious awards including IDEA Gold, Braun Prize, Core77 Design Award, Red Dot (Best of the Best), Spark Design Award, European Product Design Award (Gold) and iF Award. In his spare time, Sheng-Hung teaches product design at Fudan University Shanghai Institute of Visual Art and Detao Masters Academy.more

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