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Modular Construction for Lifesaving Infrastructure

The lifeguarding occupation has always been positioned on the precipice of feasibility, torn in competing directions by the socio-political and ecological conflicts of the coastline. While everyone wants a well-equipped lifeguard service, no one wants to pay taxes. While everyone wants a healthy tourist economy, everyone also wants their private land ownership sacralized. Lifeguards embody heroism on a moment’s notice and then fold back into the anonymity of bureaucracy. At the core of each conflict, there is an even more primal battle between the unpredictable nature of the ocean and the hyper-technical systematization of the rescue procedure. Designing for lifeguarding implies an impossible optimization—an equation with no global maximum. This project reimagines the impossible perfect lifeguard station as knotted material provocations twisted down to the scale of the human body where they become both ruthlessly practical and whimsically ambitious. Over history, lifeguards have always balanced whimsicality and practicality, as when they invented the breeches buoy, a grappling hook fired from a cannon at a foundering vessel, towing a lead line for pulley-mounted trousers. Every piece of the proposed project is interchangeable, operable, and can be reassembled by a single guard in a single truck in a single day.