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Carolyn Dry: Underwater housing (1981)01:23:29

The image at the beginning is dark and faint.

Glen Small introduces Carolyn Dry, noting that she is an architect and researcher with a background in philosophy. She holds architecture degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Minnesota. Having taught at Texas A & M, Miami University, MIT and UCLA, she currently heads a small research group doing work for the Navy and NASA.

Dry argues that the primary issue architects should be addressing today is the relationship between technology and ecology. Going beyond just energy issues, today’s projects should consider how designs that are made for a physical world are going to relate to that physical world. She is currently working with the Navy to develop new ways of building that are appropriate for the oceans. She began by thinking about what and how ocean organisms might build for themselves. An example of this is her interest in using an electrolytic process of precipitating calcium and magnesium out of ocean water to create a building material that adapts to the amount of force exerted on it over time.

Dry presents a project to develop a port design for the Office of Naval Research where she developed a system for lifting that is appropriate for the ocean. She proposed a pump that could be used for dry docking or lifting cargo that concentrates salt water and exploits the tendency of less concentrated ocean water to move toward more concentrated water in order to create the lift. This process which usually relies on slow evaporation is sped up through the application of counter current concentration and counter current exchange, both processes performed by the kidneys.

Dry presents a project for UCLA to help reintroduce life back into desertified areas using available materials in combination with a variety of applied coatings for insulation and protection against erosion. Similar to this work, she presents a project by one of her students at UCLA which uses a building skin that mimics the behavior of human skin by collecting heat in cold temperatures and releasing it and reflecting light and radiation in warmer temperatures. She is currently working for NASA on a lunar base project where she was asked to find ways to use the materials available on the moon to build a habitat.