Coral Reef Restoration: A New Nature Centered Design Approach


The effects of climate change result of global warming, ocean acidification, intensive fishing and pollution, are drastically changing coral reefs, leading to their degradation. After acknowledging the need to restore and increase marine ecosystems, there is the potential for implementation of artificial reefs. However, most common artificial approaches do not allow an appropriate coral adhesion. This research focuses on the development of artificial reefs through generative design and using additive manufacturing to provide better coral adhesion. This research follows the concept of “Nature Centered Design”, in which corals are the centre of the design project. By creating tile samples with different geometries and roughness using the Paste Based Extrusion technique, coral attachment is tested. Coral samples are placed in a controlled aquarium, where through asexual reproduction, the growth of the corals is analysed and monitored weekly. We offer a definition of an optimized surface and a coral-compatible material, capable to mimic the geometries of natural reefs, such as protrusions, openings and indentations. This research validates the design approach as a methodology that aids environmental preservation, taking advantage of additive manufacturing and generative design as customizable and innovative processes in coral restoration.


Miguel Vieira
Student, Master, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design


Generative Design, Corals, Additive Manufacturing, Artificial Reefs, Nature Centered Design

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