A learning curve...

Friday 21 Jun 2013

Stephen Turner's floating egg-shaped office experiment sets sail in the River Beaulieu

The Exbury Egg has been officially launched into the estuary of the River Beaulieu. Designed by SPUD, PAD, Boat Builder Paul Baker and Naval Architect Stephen Payne for artist Stephen Turner, the Exbury Egg is a floating office space in reclaimed timber.

The pod will be tethered to the side of the River Beaulieu for 365 days during which time it will used as a base for Stephen Turner to study the ecosystem of the tidal creek. A modest pod, the Exbury Egg will act as a collecting and collating centre and has been designed to ‘re-appraise the way we live’.

Solar panels donated by Anesco have been installed to produce electricity for Turner, who will record not only how much energy is produced but the amount he uses. The solar power should be sufficient to charge a laptop, phone and webcam and therefore provide a platform to support his ongoing research.

In the winter, small LED lights will illuminate the interior space while during the sunny summer months the volume will be flooded with light through the large acrylic skylight. Internally the Egg sports reclaimed timber which has been coated in epoxy resin to prevent water ingress. It is furnished with worksurfaces, a hammock, a portable camping WC, solar shower, marine paraffin stove and a locally-made charcoal burner.

The basic form of the Egg has been constructed with two layers of timber planking nailed to Douglas Fir stringers on plywood fins. Creating the exterior form is untreated Western Red Cedar which the team will be monitoring to analyse how the weather conditions in the estuary affect the patina of the material.

Turner comments: “Climate change is already creating new shorelines and habitats. Established salt marsh is being eroded by a combination of rising sea levels and falling landmass and the entire littoral environment is in a state of flux.

"The implications for wildlife and for the flora as well as for people are challenging. Raising awareness of the past and the unfolding present of a very special location will be the task, whist living in an ethical relationship with nature and treading as lightly as possible upon the land.”

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