Seashell Workshop
Shasha Du

In recent years, Shui Hau is becoming a popular tourist destination for clam-digging with lots of media publicity. From increasing numbers and frequency of visitors and changes in shellfish harvesting tools, clam-digging is turning from a leisure tourism activity into a profitable business.

To tackle the problem of decreasing shellfish numbers and the leftover shells caused by the increasing number of tourists, this project combines shellfish breeding and revives the historical technique of seashell-based lime making, engaging visitors to learn about and participate in the whole process from shellfish ecology to lime-crete cycle.

Shellfish Cultivation 

The Breeding Workshop displays the whole life cycle of the shellfish breeding – from the adult shellfish, fertilized eggs, to the juvenile shellfish. This includes the process of Broodstock Conditioning, Spawning Stimulus, Larval Culture, and Juvenile Culture. Filtered seawater and algae food are transported to the shellfish tanks through pumps and pipes. The sewage discharged from shellfish aquaculture is filtered and discharged by the water-filtering aquatic plants along the river banks.

Seashell-based Lime Making

Visitors can also participate in lime-making workshops. Seashells left by tourists or recycled from nearby restaurants can be calcined or burnt into lime. Visitors can see the material properties and environmentally-friendly value of lime first hand as lime is used throughout the building as cladding panels and part of the structure. They can also make lime concrete by themselves, and such lime panels produced by visitors can be displayed in the adjacent village football field.

Shellfish Planting and Harvesting

Visitors can also go directly to Shui Hau’s mudflat to participate in shellfish digging and planting guided by Shui Hau villagers and NGOs like WWF-HK who are already working there. The project also provides public amenities for tourists to change clothes and take a rest. Through the variety of experiences above, this project guides visitors to reflect on the disturbance caused by human behaviour to the environment through the immersive experience of the whole shellfish cycle. Besides shellfish conservation, the project also brings back the disappearing technique of seashell-based lime making by providing an alternative natural building material for Shui Hau villagers and beyond.

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