Traditional man-made habitat structure has been limited to sinking scuttled ships, obsolete equipment, and previously purposed concrete items; none of these artificial reefs look natural and many appear out of place in the marine environment. Many currently engineered artificial reef designs appear geometric, symmetrical and uniform; these shapes usually conform to the limitations of their fabrication method and usually emphasize ease of construction or deployment rather than compatibility with any natural aesthetic. Even reefs built from piled limestone boulders usually look like a pile of rocks and, given the mass of material used, these rock piles produce very few opportunities for habitat or colonization.
REEF CELLS maximize the productive capacity of the artificial reef by providing many interconnected cavities and internal surfaces exposed to sunlight and water current. The ratio of overall surface area and interconnected interior space to the amount of material used and the minimum sea floor area occupied is the highest of any artificial reef design. The size and spatial organization of the interior voids are designed to provide a specific habitat environment favored by a wide range of varied and diverse marine organisms.
Christopher Francis O’Hare (born April 8, 1954) is an American artist. Originally trained as a Landscape Architect, he switched careers after years of designing private tropical gardens to devote his full attention to architectural art. He founded Pineapple Grove Designs in 1988 and offered his bas-relief sculpted panels to architects throughout the country. O'Hare's collection of iconographic sculptures are inspired by plant, animal, geometric and arabesque imagery with references to traditional, historic and contemporary themes. O'Hare's body of work was recently expanded by his development of a line of Architectural Grilles which he describes as line drawings for the built environment. Similarly inspired by nature and geometry, these grilles offer additional opportunities for designers to explore the effects of light and shadow on the art. In addition to his collections, O'Hare has completed many commissions for custom, site specific architectural art for institutional and government projects from Okinawa Japan to Abu Dhabi UAE.
O'Hare's concern for environmental issues led him to a parallel career in bio-marine enhancement. He has several U.S. Patents for his inventions in this field and he currently builds artificial reefs known as REEF CELLS. O'Hare provides these without profit to foundations and government agencies and has multiple deployments throughout Palm Beach County in South Florida.
REEF CELLS start out with a heavy irregularly shaped concrete base which provides both support to the upper structure and resistance to the dynamic forces found in the ocean. Multiple layers of free formed, concrete "veneers" are assembled around a concrete column designed to add rigidity and facilitate lifting the finished structure into place. The completed structure is then coated with a crushed limestone and cement mix designed to encourage colonization by attaching organisms.
REEF CELLS' goal is marine enhancement designed to provide species specific habitat and optimized substrate for colonization by attaching organisms while preserving the natural marine aesthetic. Natural reefs benefit by experiencing reduced stress typically caused by frequent diver visits because REEF CELLS provide an alternative natural underwater attraction and dive experience thus drawing human activity away from more sensitive nearby natural reefs.
Divers prefer natural reef formations. The complexity and intense productiveness of REEF CELLS increase their attractiveness to divers. Marketing and social media opportunities increase awareness of this recreational asset while strengthening an area's "brand" as a unique diving destination.
Reef tourism provides significant economic benefit throughout local economies. Boat charters, dive shops, hotels, restaurants, car rentals, travel companies and many other tourist industry businesses benefit from a healthy and robust diver destination. The economic benefits of a continue to provide positive repercussions in other market sectors that support tourism.
Photo Credits: Boynton deployment & Peanut Island by Pinnacle - Phil Foster Park by DERM - Others by Christopher O'Hare
These videos are a portion of the original videos posted by the above mentioned owners. They are posted here to identify the REEF CELL modules on display.
Along the Coast: Sculptor’s artificial reefs ready for divers
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - October 31, 2012
Christopher O’Hare first started worrying about the fish in Lake Worth Lagoon when he moved to Ocean Ridge in 1992 and saw the sea walls that had replaced the native mangroves that grew at water’s edge.
“Mangroves provide ideal habitats for fish. It’s one of the big issues facing environmental management of Lake Worth Lagoon,” O’Hare said.
The mangrove’s long, tangled...
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REEF CELLS to be deployed at Phil Foster Park
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - August 8, 2012
New REEF CELL modules ready for deployment at the Blue Heron Bridge dive area. Come snorkel in 8' of clear protected water just off the beach at Phil Foster Park. This spot is a favorite dive sight in Palm Beach County.
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Privately-backed artificial reef CELL honors avid salt water enthusiast
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - August 19, 2015
Out of tragedy-- something positive for the community. A Jupiter family is sinking an artificial reef, in memory of a young man who was killed while snorkeling last summer.
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Reef Cells builds new reef inmemory of florida sporstman
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - May 29, 2015
It's been nearly one year since Andrew Harris died while snorkeling at the Jupiter Inlet. Now his parents are one step away from honoring him with artificial reefs in the waters Harris loved. Chris O'Hare directs traffic outside his Boynton Beach warehouse. Crews at Reef Cells are assembling wavy, bumpy sheets of concrete into an artificial coral reefs. READ FULL ARTICLE
Artificial reef CELLS to honor snorkeler struck by boat
JUPITER, Fla. - August 19, 2015 (UPDATED STORY)
One year after Jupiter resident Andrew Harris loses his life in a diving accident, community members pay tribute to his legacy in a very deep way. "Everybody reacts to tragedy in their own way," says Scott Harris, Andrew's father. "This was my way to do it." The 26-year-old died in a snorkeling accident last June.READ FULL ARTICLE
Building Conservation Trust joins effort to create new angling, diving destination
JUPITER, Fla. - July 28, 2015
Reef Cells is proud to join Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) in supporting the creation of the Andrew "Red" Harris Foundation Reef. From the very beginning of this project, Reef Cells has worked with everyone to insure this project is an environmental success and a great dive experience. All Reef Cell modules has been built in the Reef Cell facility in Boynton Beach at the huge sculpture studio of Chris O'Hare. Mr. O'Hare has personally supervised every aspect of construction and his guiding design influence and hands-on direction has brought this project to completion on time and on budget. All that is left at the time of this writing is to transport the Reef Cell modules by truck to the Port of Palm Beach where they will be loaded onto a seagoing barge for final deployment offshore from Jupiter, Florida. Deployment is expected to take place in mid August.
Read more about CCA's generous sponsorship by clicking here: READ FULL ARTICLE
UPDATE: Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation Reef
JUPITER, Fla. - August 11, 2015
The Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation is set to deploy an artificial Reef Cells off the coast of Jupiter as a memorial to Andrew Harris, who was killed while snorkeling last year. The reef, which is tentatively scheduled to be sunk Aug. 19, will be made of 40 “reef cells” modeled after Bahamian coral heads, and will cost about $100,000.
Palm Beach County will permit the reef to be placed at the site, about 3.5 miles off the Jupiter Inlet in 88-foot-deep water, and oversee its construction and long-term maintenance, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said. The reef will cover a 350-by-150-foot area.
“Nothing is ever going to replace Andrew, but it’s an effort to honor his memory in a way that will benefit the community as his life would have,” said Andrew’s father, Scott Harris, the foundation’s president. READ FULL ARTICLE
*Locations listed identify Reef Cells prototypes
shown on Gallery and Videos
*When on top of map scroll on left or right side or with side bar