Silver Ships and Auburn University to develop oysters
Boatbuilder Silver Ships has partnered with Auburn University’s Industrial Design Program and Auburn University’s Shell Laboratory (AUSL) to create concepts for the design of an oyster boat.
Starting this fall, Silver Ships, AUSL and students in Auburn’s Industrial Design Program will focus on designing several concepts for a new vessel to support oyster operations. The class offers third year students the opportunity to engage in their first substantial design project within the program.
Students in the class spend every other week of the semester at the future Auburn Studio, a collaboration between the School of Industrial and Graphic Design and local Mobile companies. Faculty Director Randy Bartlett guides students by interacting with companies and industry partners to help them develop new products and marketing strategies. The class is designed to include both classroom learning and concurrent industrial problem solving for industry partners. This semester will be the first time in the history of the program that students will work on a boat design project and the first time that the program will partner with a boat builder.
AUSL already owns an “original” Silver Ships vessel which is over 30 years old and still in operation. Bartlett had already planned to discuss an industrial partnership with Silver Ships when he met the head of the AUSL lab and learned about their history with Silver Ships and the upcoming needs for a new vessel. From there, the three organizations agreed to work together with the goal of producing 2-3 design concepts for a new oyster boat for AUSL.
This month, Silver Ships loaded Auburn students participating in the class into two of their ships and toured AUSL’s oyster hatchery and nursery in Dauphin Island, Ala. and the oyster farm in Grand Bay, Ala. to observe, interact with students and facilities and learn more about AUSL’s needs for a work boat.
With the proper design research done and ideas formulated, participating students from Silver Ships and Auburn University will work together to begin sketching concepts and designing models to scale, keeping desires and AUSL’s needs as a top priority.
Thanks to the collaboration between the three parties, the semester-long project will result in 2-3 concepts and visual models at the scale of an oyster boat design which will be presented at AUSL. The lab is not required to adopt the proposed design, but could choose to continue working with Silver Ships to finalize a new vessel. With a new concept developed, boat designs could be shared with other commercial oyster farmers who have similar needs. While the end result is important, the focus is more on the collaborative and educational process to develop a final design concept.