Metamorphous by Paul Sangha Landscape Architecture prevents Ocean Erosion

Made from Corten steel, Metamorphous is a unique art installation that is actually designed to prevent ocean erosion by acting as a barrier between a waterfront property located in Vancouver, Canada and the tumultuous action of the Pacific Ocean.

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Originally Metamorphous was a 120ft structure that soon became much larger as neighbours got involved with the idea and agreed to participate by having the Corten steel statement expanded into a 200ft masterpiece that protected not only the original site but those on either side of it as well.
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Metamorphous originated due to the pounding of the King Tides in December of 2012. The aggressive wave action caused massive coastal erosion and destruction all up and down the coast, carving out the entire bank below the client’s property and leaving the deck completely suspended.
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Paul Sangha Landscape Architecture was approached by the client to come up with a creative solution that would replace the entire bank in front of their property and stop it from being washed away again. Paul Sangha began to sketch out ideas using the natural landscape as a muse for the new barrier.
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The final design abstractly represents the sandstone formations on Saturna Island just off the coast of BC. The design was first mocked up in miniature and the proportions where then extrapolated into the full scale Corten steel creation.
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Cutting the Corten steel sheets with an automated water jet to minimize material waste, Drabeck Technologies used computer assisted modeling to create the exact shapes of each piece.
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Working in conjunction with Balance Environmental – an oceanic engineering firm, Paul Sangha Landscape Architecture paired the Corten steel installation with natural boulders to create a vignette that would disperse the energy of storm surges.
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Fossil Project Services was enlisted to help with the installation of 200ft structure that is Metamorphous.
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Through natural weathering Metamorphous went from a steely grey shade in the shop to a more organic rust colour on site.
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The abstracted facettes of Metamorphous, combined with the strategic boulder placements play an integral roll in dissipating wave energy.
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The nooks and crannies provided by Metamorphous and the boulder placements have created semi-protected enclosures for the deposition of sand.
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Flora and fauna have begun to re-establish in the sand deposits flanking the sculptural barrier.
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Since its completion the public has enthusiastically embraced Metamorphous as an example of how function, form and art is continuing to be an expression of the Vancouver aesthetic not just on the shoreline but throughout the city and surrounding areas as well.
Paul Sangha Landscape Architecture


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Evelyn M

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“I began my Interior Design career apprenticing with an architectural/engineering firm in Vancouver. I have my Associate of Interior Design from Douglas College; I spent an additional 3 years night school at BCIT studying building technology and 3 years night school at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. This combination of training gives me an all round approach to design from technical to creative and it is that all round approach that makes my design capabilities stand out.

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