Working title “a computational design framework for artificial coral reefs” (2015- )

Verena Vogler, InfAR group, Faculty of Architecture and UrbanismBauhaus University in Weimar

Scholarships: German Academic Research Foundation, Andrea von Braun Foundation

Coral reefs in the Bali Sea are complex underwater structures that prevent beaches from erosion, serve as habitat for sea life and are major resources for the local fishing industry and tourism. However, currently, they are threatened and already partly destroyed by dynamite fishing, ocean acidification due to elevated levels of CO2 caused by pollution, and rising sea temperature due to global warming.  Semi-artificial reef systems could help to repair damaged structured and initiate new reefs. This research investigates if geometrical complexity in artificial coral reefs based on Biorock® Technology has an impact on its function as a reef. We propose novel design, fabrication and assembly methods for artificial reefs. Two artificial pilot reefs, Prototype 1 and 2, were successfully launched and monitored for six years and one year, respectively, in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia. We investigated in detail growth and structural performance of the developed prototype in the sea. We used underwater photogrammetry, a method to three-dimensionally reconstruct high-resolution underwater photographs of Prototype 1 and a natural reef to build detailed 3-D models of both. This procedure enabled us to visualise, structurally analyse, and to compare the geometrical performance of a natural reef with the proposed artificial solution. We also started to construct turbulence models based on computational fluid dynamics simulations.

Our first results demonstrate that geometrical complexity has an impact on the artificial coral reefs’ functional and structural performance in the sea.


Artificial Coral Reefs, Algorithmic Design, Underwater Photogrammetry, Underwater Laser Scanning, 3-D Modelling


Baars- CIPRO, UWF Deutschland, Global Coral Reef Alliance, Gili Eco Trust, Swinburne University Melbourne

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