An Underwater Greenhouse Will Support the Great Barrier Reef

Andrew Parker
Jul 05, 2020

British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has created an underwater greenhouse off the coast on Australia as a habitat for marine life. The Coral Greenhouse is part of the Museum of Underwater Art and now sits in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park on the John Brewer Reef. It is located 50 miles from Townsville, a coastal city in Australia. The Coral Greenhouse is made of concrete and steel and is full of sculptures of trees and people. Instead of glass, water fills the space between the underwater building. DeCaires Taylor created sculptures of workbenches filled with gardening tools inside the sunken building, which are designed to be a habitat for different species of wildlife. Small fish, octopuses and sea urchins can hide in the gaps and crannies of the sculpture.

A Hawksbill sea turtle is seen swimming on January 15, 2012 in Lady Elliot Island, Australia. Lady Elliot Island is one of the three island resorts in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Getty Images/News/Mark Kolbe

The structure weighs 165 tonnes and is anchored to the sandy bottom by its heavy base. “The design of the greenhouse is biomorphic. Its form determined by the forces of nature,” said DeCaires Taylor. “As the Coral Greenhouse is slowly colonised and built upon by the reef, it will gradually absorbed into its surroundings.” Divers can check out the sculpture using three entrance points. Visitors can go inside the Coral Greenhouse and observe the wildlife and artworks. DeCaires Taylor made sculptures of children engaged in science and conservation work. “The children study and tend to planted coral cuttings,” said DeCaires Taylor. “Thus they are tending to their future, building a different relationship with our marine world, one which recognises it as precious, fragile, and in need of protection.”

“Our vision is to inspire reef and ocean conservation action and achieve positive environmental outcomes. The Coral Greenhouse will do that by reducing pressure on the reef environment,” said deCaires Taylor. “We hope to advance education and offer opportunities for scientists, marine students and tourists to engage in action-based learning and conduct globally important research on coral reef restoration and new technology.”