by Jerry ElengicalSep 28, 2022
Nestled along the picturesque coastline of North-West Scotland, where surging tides meet the rugged terrain, London-based architect Margot Krasojevic’s visionary tidal pool resort stands as a testament to the harmonious fusion of renewable energy and eco-tourism. This project is not just a luxury getaway; it is a renewable power plant that harnesses the energy of the tides to generate electricity.
The heart of this innovative design concept lies in the resort’s floating platform, an artificial landscape designed to harness the power of tidal energy efficiently. The platform is constructed from clusters of hexagonal ballast-like columns that house vertical dual reversible turbines. These turbines, inspired by the Scottish coastline have been strategically designed to adapt to the dynamic ebb and flow of the tides. “Northern Scotland has examples of Basalt column causeways and islands, which have been standing for around 60 million years. They have become an inspiration for writers, painters, and composers for many years and are tourist spots due to their unique geological formations; I wanted to capture some of Scotland's extreme physical coastline characteristics and chose to refer to the Basalt columns. Their strength comes from the hexagonal joining which is why the resort island uses this strategy,” shares the architect with STIR on her inspiration for the floating platform in the resort’s design.
Krasojevic’s design vision for the resort is nothing short of breathtaking. The turbines, housed within the hexagonal columns, create different height levels and enclosed rock pools. The surface areas seamlessly connect, forming a geometrically intricate and expansive environment. Different dimensions harmonise proportionally, allowing the island to adapt and expand in accordance with its coastal surroundings.
The generation of electricity relies on the dynamic shifts in tidal energy. During high tide, seawater floods into the tidal landscape, creating a difference in water levels within the tidal pools. Sufficient water must flow through the turbine clusters to set the turbine runners in motion to generate electricity. This process repeats during ebb tide, with the landscape controlling the water flow to maximise the potential head over time, much like a capacitor storing and releasing water across cluster sections for efficient electricity generation. This flexible design showcases the resort as a practical example of sustainable engineering.
One of the most striking features of the resort is its series of interlocking caves that jut out like the bow of a ship, poised to capture and direct the powerful waves. This artificial marine geyser, pivoting from the main structure and landscape, responds to the ever-changing weather and sea conditions, maximising electricity generation while paying homage to the natural forces that shape the coastline.
Krasojevic’s commitment to sustainability and ecological preservation is evident in every aspect of the resort’s design. The turbine clusters constructed using marine Geopolymer concrete, provide the strength and durability necessary to withstand the harsh marine environment. They also serve as a catalyst for marine ecosystems, propagating intertidal habitats. In this landscape design, the architect has created four distinct pool habitats with different levels of seawater and air exposure. This diversity attracts marine creatures that are adapted to those unique conditions. The amount of oxygen, the strength of waves, and salt levels in these pools create a challenging environment that decides which native plants and animals can live and flourish. The artificial landscape design replicates the features of the natural one.
The resort is perched on a platform formed by clustered turbines, creating a space that encloses numerous rock pools. Three structures for tourists fold up when not in use during the off-season. The canopy’s frame is constructed from galvanised steel, known for its rust resistance, lightness, and strength to support acrylic and polycarbonate panels. This steel truss frame spans large areas without requiring interior columns, providing for flexible, open-plan areas. The resort architecture comprises interconnected cabins defined by the foldable canopy, allowing guests to transition from open-plan to modular, private spaces. It caters to short-term stays and offers a minimalistic luxury experience.
The hydroelectric tidal pool design has the flexibility to either float at the end of the pier or a causeway. Its standout feature is its ability to adapt to the surroundings because you can rearrange the turbine clusters as needed. The turbine area can also be connected to the existing rocks by resting on piles driven into the coastline, or it can float farther out like a pontoon, held in place by a tension leg platform construction that’s anchored to the seabed. This ensures it stays put, similar to how oil rigs are secured by anchors. Alternatively, dynamic position thrusters can be used.
This landscape design combines resort and power plant functions, providing easy access to the coastline and recreational spaces for guests, all while safeguarding the natural environment. The wooden clad columns act as a filter, keeping building pollutants from reaching the sea. The resort’s innovation doesn’t end with its turbine landscape. Two metres below the seawater surface, a ledge of solar panels basks in the sun’s glow, contributing to the resort’s electricity generation and sending excess power back into the mainland grid. The Tidal Pool resort aims to provide a substantial 1MW of electricity, sufficient to power 1000 Scottish mainland homes. This represents a significant step toward reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to a more sustainable energy future.
As an architect, Krasojevic strongly believes in the significance of cross-disciplinary approach to design, especially when it comes to proposing new forms that resonate with our ever-evolving environment. Her emphasis lies in shaping architectural concepts rooted in renewable energy solutions and advanced technology, resulting in the development of a distinctive architectural expression underpinned by dynamic simulation software.
Summing up the resort’s transformative design and its potential to elevate guest experiences while adapting to tidal shifts, the architect shares with STIR, “The flexible nature of the turbine island can adapt to tidal zones and locations depending on where the island is moored or floating out. The intertidal zones which affect electricity generation on the island are different according to the coastline and geological features of that coastline. We needed a strong yet flexible design for maximum tidal energy harnessing and electricity generation.”
She adds, “The guest experience will always be for the environmental tourists who prefer to be responsible for their carbon footprint and energy consumption; guests who visit the island will be aware of this and want to be a part of clean energy generation with minimum consumption. The island expanding and working offers first impressions of new technology, a working vacation in some manner, like a kibbutz or a planting tree vacation.”
The Tidal Pool resort is a shining example of how innovative design, sustainable technology, and ecological awareness can coexist harmoniously. With its commitment to harnessing tidal energy efficiently, reducing carbon emissions, and providing a minimalistic luxury guest experience, this ambitious project stands as a beacon of hope for a more sustainable future. The completion of the project is anticipated in February 2026.
Name: Hydrokinetic Energy Resort
Area: 600 sqm
Design Company: Margot Krasojević Architects
Lead Designer: Margot Krasojević
Completion Time: February 2026
General contractor: To be announced.
Engineered Wood: Collaboration with Wood for Good and GSS marine services