Next Friday, the International School of Engineering/Architecture (IEAC) of Cern, Switzerland will continue its preliminary assessment of the causes and remedies concerning the current and common inundations of Beach Road in Vineyard Haven. IEAC is an award winning academic center which combines knowledge and techniques from the past with some of the latest developments in modern structural engineering to insure that its results are both sustainable and green.

To begin, they read that the road and adjacent surfaces would tend to flood when and if the wind is coming from the right direction, from a northeaster or a hurricane while always being under the myriad machinations of the moon. The fact that the surrounding area was once a swamp and egress from the lagoon into the ocean was also added to the equation.

They explored the use of bamboo which has been used as a building material for thousands of years and strong enough to carry tanks as demonstrated during China’s civil war in the 1940’s. But bamboo is not plentiful on the Island.

Then they explored the use of cork which was used to support and float large buildings since Roman times. In fact, according to the writings of Artemidorus, sandal like shoes made from cork allowed people to walk on water. It was thought that cork as a supporting material would be feasible when one considers all the celebrations, births, weddings, divorces, St. Patrick’s Day, etc. from which corks could be collected. But since we don’t know if another Covid is just around the corner it was decided that cork was not sustainable.

They finally settled on a barge base. They propose that the entire Beach Road area be dredged and barges brought in to host existing structures. For example, three horshoe-arranged barges would host Tisbury Marketplace with the existing green space replaced by ocean.

The bird sanctuary with its tiny lamps I suppose for nighthawks would either be afloat or below water, owner’s choice. Beach Road itself would be made up of linking barges kept in place by Stobie poles allowing all structures to undulate with the tide without swaying from side to side.

All commercial and human needs would be encased or transmitted in environment friendly piping color coded in the style of the Pompidou. Barges would be double ended allowing egress to the main road/barge and to the sea. Screening could be attached to attract and protect bait fish and to allow mussels to cluster. These mussels, washed by the pure ocean on one side and the soft, sweet waters of the lagoon twice a day, would probably draw a high price. This could be another source of income for the town — or the state since Beach Road is classified as a state highway. Then again the feds might butt in since the whole area would be floating in federal waters.

The IEAC assessment sessions occur every Friday between 5:30 and 7 p.m. at the women’s softball field in Veterans’ Park. Because the school is in Switzerland discussion is carried on in a different language each week: German, French, Italian, Romance and English every fifth Friday. At precisely 7 p.m. a small bell rings and then they chant softly what to my ears sounds like, “And let us now adjourn to the Hofbrauhause.”

The only rendering of what this might look like suggested a blend of Sausalito and Rotterdam. Let’s hope it can keep its spirit of Cannery Row.

John Crelan lives in Oak Bluffs