Edna Brewer Middle School Band leading a jazzy, New Orleans–style procession for the Float Lab launch. Photo by Wes Miller / Center for Impact at CCA.

Community celebrates the launch of California College of the Arts Float Lab in Oakland Bay

A vibrant community celebration brought together civic leaders, CCA faculty, and students of all ages for the historic launch of CCA Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab.

CCA Float Lab ribbon-cutting with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

CCA Float Lab ribbon-cutting with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Photo by Scott Minneman / CCA.

Oakland, CA—During a weekend of worldwide climate protests and California Coastal Cleanup Day, leaders from California College of the Arts (CCA), Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Port of Oakland representatives, and community members gathered on Saturday, September 21, to commemorate the launch of CCA Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab into the Oakland Middle Harbor. This innovative floating research station offers a first-of-its-kind approach to addressing the effects of climate change to be deployed in the San Francisco Bay.

Led by CCA architecture faculty Adam Marcus, Margaret Ikeda, and Evan Jones, the Float Lab builds upon five years of applied research at CCA and merges art and design expertise, advanced digital fabrication manufacturers, and marine ecologists. It is engineered to serve as a breakwater to reduce coastal erosion and also be a habitat for marine life in order to increase marine biodiversity. The Float Lab will be used as an educational tool in fulfillment of Middle Harbor Shoreline Park’s mission to be a place for learning about local history, natural environment, maritime activities, and stewardship for the environment.

The Float Lab launch celebration kicked off with a jazzy, New Orleans–style ceremonial procession performed by the Edna Brewer Middle School Band. The band led over 100 guests down to Port View Park, where the festivities and remarks took place. In the crowd were City of Oakland and Port of Oakland leaders, fifth grade students from Prescott School in West Oakland, musicians from Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland, multiple community members, and CCA leadership and faculty, as well as current and former CCA students involved with the development of the Float Lab. The celebratory procession lead guests to Port View Park, where the community picnic joyfully commenced with food, refreshments, DIY kites, and coloring book activities as they viewed the Float Lab doing its work in the bay.

The distinguished speakers then gathered for remarks. Speaking at the event were (in order): Amy Tharpe, director of Social Responsibility, Port of Oakland; Adam Marcus, Margaret Ikeda, and Evan Jones, CCA Architecture faculty and Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab project leaders; Stephen Beal, CCA president; Keith Krumwiede, CCA dean of Architecture; fifth grade students from Prescott School; Brad McCrea, director of Regulatory Program, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission; and Richard Sinkoff, director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland; and Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland.

Four students from educator Connie Zunino’s fifth grade class at Prescott School in West Oakland gave a special presentation about Tanaids, a small crustacean native to the bay. The students displayed a colorful, papier-mâché representation of a Tanaid while stating scientific facts delivered in rhyming poetic verse.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf concluded the remarks. Wearing her California Coastal Cleanup T-shirt and green Oakland Proud ball cap, Mayor Schaaf delivered impassioned remarks about the importance of offering innovative solutions to climate change and expressed her commitment to environmental stewardship, especially for future generations. She then shared the ceremonial ribbon-cutting moment with one of the fifth grade students from Prescott School.

“What’s so exciting about these Float Labs is this is not just a scientific laboratory, this is a show of power from our students—our students at CCA, our students in the Oakland Unified School District—and just know that you have an entire community here in the city of Oakland cheering you on, telling you how important this work is, and telling you to use this information for good, for change.”

— Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

“The challenges around environmental issues are just enormous, and we’re so proud of the work that our faculty and students have done to begin to address this,” said CCA President Stephen Beal. “The founder of CCA, Frederick Meyer, believed that the best thing was to take young creative people and to connect them to the complexities of social, political, and economic life. And that’s been at the heart of CCA for 112 years. Never has that been more important than it is today.”

About CCA Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab

CCA Architectural Ecologies Lab’s (AEL) Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab project is an award-winning, innovative floating breakwater structure engineered to be a habitat for native marine life in order to increase marine biodiversity and reduce coastal erosion. This project builds upon five years of applied research at California College of the Arts and merges expertise from design, advanced digital fabrication manufacturers, and marine ecologists.

The Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab project has received the following recognition: Columbia University, GSAPP Incubator Prize, 2019; Center for Impact at CCA, Impact Award, 2019; Architect Magazine, R+D Award, 2018; and Buckminster Fuller Institute, Catalyst Program, 2017.

CCA Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab Leaders and Collaborators

Project leaders: Adam Marcus (CCA), Margaret Ikeda (CCA), Evan Jones (CCA)

Design team: Taylor Metcalf, Georine Pierre, Jared Clifton

Marine ecology: Benthic Lab, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories — John Oliver, Kamille Hammerstrom, Daniel Gossard

Fabrication: Kreysler & Associates — Bill Kreysler, Joshua Zabel

Maintenance and deployment consultant: DC Marine — Dean Christian

Naval architecture and engineering: Tri-Coastal Marine — Andrew Davis

Deployment team, Port of Oakland: Bill Morrison, Donald Ockrassa, Kevin Nekimken, Sean Wheels, Greg Skeen

Administrative support: Dustin Smith (CCA), Amanda Schwerin, Karina O’Neill, Laura Ng (CCA), Sarah Lowe (CCA), JD Beltran (CCA Center for Impact), Wes Miller (CCA Center for Impact), Tracy Tanner (CCA Center for Impact)

Project sponsors: Miranda Leonard, Kreysler & Associates, Ashland Reactive Polymers, Autodesk Workshop at Pier 9, Port of Oakland, CCA Center for Impact

Photography: Architectural Ecologies Lab, Mike Campos (aerial photos), Wes Miller (event photos and video), JD Beltran (event photos), Scott Minneman (event photos)

Press Materials

  • Download full press release here.
  • Download event images here.
  • Download Float Lab images here.
Lindsey DeVries, CCA Media Relations Manager

Lindsey DeVries

Media Relations Manager

+1 415-551-9359

[email protected]