Storm Surge Breaks and Marsh Terracing

A theoretical intervention to protect the bay of Port Isabel, Texas from hurricanes and erosion. Storm surge breaks are a modular, prototypical system that can be applied to any city along a shoreline in order to protect from inundation during a storm event.

Arrow-shaped gabions act as miniature barrier islands to protect the shoreline. Loose fill material allows water to filter through its volume for minimal damage to the bay floor. Over time, sand accretion and plant growth will occur and slowly build new land.

The gabion breaks act as a field condition to dissipate storm waves. The surge hits the break, filters through the volume, and slows the progress of the wave. The alternating directionality of the arrows disperse surges by redirecting the wave’s force back into itself, breaking the solid wall of water.

The breaks also serve as a recreational area for Port Isabel. They act as picnic areas, kayak launches, rock climbing walls, boat docks, fishing areas, and bird-watching posts. The breaks are only accessible via kayak to minimize damage to the new land growth and fragile ecosystem. The gabion structure can can be easily added onto allowing for vertical or horizontal growth so that the breaks can function after decades of sea level rise.

Gabion Storm Surge Breaks
Gabion Storm Surge Break Section
Gabion Storm Surge Diagram
Gabion Storm Surge Breaks

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