The Ministry of Ocean Wisdom_A speculative scenario that relocates human habitat from a land based system to a water based system.


The Ministry of Ocean Wisdom is a demonstration project concerning a regional environmental strategy addressing 23000 km2 of the Danish Territorial Waters and mainland Jutland Peninsula, with a focus study on the building of the Ministry. The Ministry of Ocean Wisdom is a project showing a model of embracing ocean level rise and consequently taking up life on water. The Ministry has a strategic approach to the foreseeable event of ocean level rise and it operates through a set of components that prepare, protect and provide for the population and the territory under threat of global ocean level rise. These components include habitation, transportation, natural environment, infrastructure, and logistics. Moreover, The Ministry represents and act of education about the ocean and its values: it mediates dialogue between people who part similar hardships and want to share knowledge with compassion and generosity.


Who influences you graphically?

I look very closely at the work of Hariton Pushwagner know for his urban and pop art and Heath Robinson, illustrator of comically absurd designs and life situations. Trough their style, they both display repetitions, iterations accompanied by scale variations.

To what extent did the work of C J Lim effect the means through which you chose to reveal your project?

CJ’s studio is learning about how the world works. By this, we mean to incorporate critical thinking in all stages of the design development – of course, I’m referring to concept design mostly. Whether this is investigated through the lenses of a Jules Verne novel, a Jonathan Swift essay or an article in The Guardian, we always challenge the premise of the project through contemporary ideological, political, social or environmental issues. We have made it our studio culture to be inquisitive and ask an awful lot of questions so, in this line, the project is revealed – almost collaged – through an energetic dialogue, a wide range of contextual references and by no means least, a bold attitude. As a result of this, we don’t end up having overly obsessed discussions about this mirage called “form” and I personally find this quite attractive. Then come the strategy and clarity of representation of the schematic design which ultimately leads to the detailed design.

How does the graphic representation of the project relate to the actual proposal?

That’s quite funny: at the beginning, we started these drawings in grayscale. I wanted to produce clear images without any colorful distractions. As we worked our way through though, color began to play an important role, as the world of oceans started to be defined by blue and green tones. At this point, it seemed pretty natural to have the rest of the architectural tectonic language displayed in shades of brown – just enough to produce a sense of complementarity. You could also refer to these drawings as sepia drawings in which we balanced blue and green tones.

What defined the format?

The format of the images is defined by A0-sized layouts. There is nothing fancy about this, the layout is simple and bold to facilitate clear reading, and to let the details of the drawing stand out as a result of the layout size. Technical environmental, construction and procurement issues together with further design notes are displayed in an A3 booklet called The Design Realisation Report. Link to full technical report:

What was your work process in terms of both image production as well as programs used?

I think the issue that is brought up by these drawings is composition: we don’t just click the “Render” button and presumably, a “nice” image turns out. Composition means multiple angles carefully arranged, so in this line, “an image” is not “one image”. Particular views are set up and arranged to convey the message to the reader and add further technical understanding – “sections are cut” through certain objects, or “skin is peeled off” to show that technical knowledge is there. The complexity of the images is not in the apparent “randomness” but in the provocative and sometimes surprising angles. In terms of workflow, there are numerous Rhino models – never a complete single detailed model – to produce the angles which are then manipulated in Photoshop to extract lines, to add masks, textures and to vary tones. As there is a lot of production to be output, the workflow has to be as efficient as it can get, meaning 1-2 days per drawing. Oh, and then there’s the test printing… tens of test prints and adjustments.

A special thank you

CJ Lim + Simon Dickens + Eva Rosborg Aagaard

The Bartlett School of Architecture, London, UK

Matthew Wells

Techniker Structural Engineers, London, UK

Markus Krauss

Transsolar Climate Engineers, Munich, Germany

Jette Birkeskov Mogensen

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, Aarhus, Denmark