Turning Trains into Coral: Building a Coral Reef

Manmade Coral Reef

Architects have made designs to build man-made islands, floating gardens, and shipping container parks. They may as well take it one step further and build artificial tropical reefs. Building a massive underwater forest sounds extremely complicated, but it’s not quite as involved as you might expect. Basically, the people at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control are going to dump garbage into the ocean. Yep – you heard that right. They’re just going to push old New York subway cars into the sea.

Turning Subway Cars into Reefs

It’s not quite as bad as it sounds, as it’s much more like recycling than dumping. The subway cars will encourage the growth of reef, which will attract fish. Aquatic wildlife can’t just attach itself to the sandy sea floor; coral needs a solid and stable surface. The subway cars will provide that. Once the coral begins to grow, fish will begin to arrive and transform the seafloor into a thriving community. It’s a bit similar to dumping dirt and fertilizer in the middle of the desert. To us, those things might seem like trash, but it might be all the region needs to kick start a new community.

Recycling New York Subway Cars

And best of all, New York is just giving the cars away for free, so the fish won’t have to spend a single red cent on their new SoHo homes. This project represents a growing trend in combining recycling, green architecture, and the philosophy of building habitats to encourage wildlife growth rather than destroying it. With a bit of creativity, projects like this can strike an environmental note on several levels. Hopefully, architects will be inspired by this movement and find new ways to transform old garbage into new architectural marvels.

Recycling New York Subway Cars


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