The Magpie Anthology

The Eco-Engineering Innovations Helping to Bring Gibraltar to (wild) Life

Artecology’s ground-breaking artificial rockpools, Vertipools, have been installed this winter in the Mediterranean for the first time following a commission from the Government of Gibraltar as part of their Greening the Grey programme. This, from Artecology’s Claire Hector.

Ecoengineers and biodiversity design team Artecology are based in the Solent region, on the coast in Sandown Bay and are part of the Isle of Wight Biosphere team. The Vertipools were first designed and installed in 2013, a cross-discipline collaboration to combat loss of intertidal habitat and wildlife as a consequence of climate change and sea level rise. Since that time, the pools have been deployed in the public realm, the commercial arena and as part of two European-funded research programmes. They are creating ‘living sea walls’ on concrete and sheet piling from the Thames to coastal sea defences and ports around the UK, Ireland and France and have proved extremely effective both in marine and estuarine application.

This latest Vertipool array was especially designed for Gibraltar’s Department of the Environment, Sustainability & Climate Change and Heritage and will be monitored by their team of ecologists.  

All the cast Vertipools feature pattern imprint as well sculptural handmade details and use a special reduced carbon concrete. Each new Vertipool design is named after its first location… so these are of course the new Gibraltar model!

Nigel George, director at Artecology said, ‘We’re delighted to see the first Vertipools installed in the Med. We cannot wait to see how they develop over the coming months and in particular how their ecological succession will compare to those installed in the colder waters of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France. We look forward to working with our colleagues in Gibraltar again soon. Watch this space!!’

The HM Gibraltar team installing a Compton model Vertipool.
Photo: Gibraltar Marine Reserve

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