Home  |  Works  |  About  ︎ ︎


4D Island is a not-for-profit design research studio with a focus on climate, ecology and regenerative design with the agenda to develop new spatial intelligences, material understandings and adaptation strategies with front line communities in the Global South.

Our investigations and project work are focused on co-developing novel approaches, insights and strategies to climate adaptation that go beyond traditional architectural design methodologies, scales and considerations; by leveraging data, mapping and computational workflows along side local knowledge and embodied experiences to help realise complex; spatial relationships, material exchange and societal wellbeing in a changing climate.

Our current region of focus is the Indian Ocean and in particular the Maldives, a Small Island Developing State.

What We Do

We offer a range of consulting and design services, with a focus on deploying geographic data for urban, territorial and climate diagnosis with a focus on mapping, data visualization and community engagement.

How & Why

We adopt a studio approach to projects which focused on exploration and innovation through design based research with the aim to pair local knowledge with innovative systems thinking that can work through scales, time frames and physical medium. From the scale of climatic territories to that of a building or community interface.

We reject an approach of reductive simplicity and single solutions. But rather believe in a process of prototyping and testing that embraces complexity and uncertain to positively navigate multiple scenarios within fluctuating systems. We do this by leveraging both top-down and bottom-up approaches; making use of data through computation and simulation processes resulting in evidenced based designs which are then strengthened with local knowledge, knowhow and embodied experiences.

Climate justice is social justice… to give communities and local visions of vulnerability agency in an open and collaborative design process working towards resiliency, adaptation and prosperity for all. Ultimately challenging extractive or short term models of development with environmentally centred and regenerative principles.

For these methods to be effective we believe in developing tools that are scalable, economic and are versatile enough to be deployable in multiple scenarios. However, we do not believe in a purely technical approach; in the absence of certainty in model-based scenarios, community-based adaptation and local visions of vulnerability need to inform a notable component of development.

We see our role as designers being focused on making these ideas, relationships and insights tangible and legible to non-design and non-technically audiences; through conversation, narrative-based explanations, visual material, local capacity building or through built mediums.

Who We Are

Ben Pollock and Oscar McDonald are both UK registered Architects and started 4D Island in 2016 as an exploration in to alternative mode of architectural practice with a focus on climate, ecology and regenerative design to co-develop new spatial intelligences, material understandings and adaptation strategies with front line communities.

Ben Pollock <CV>

Oscar McDonald <CV>


Atollscape, Maldives
MSpace, Maldives
Space Syntax, London
Aisha Niyas , Maldives - Environmental Consultant & Activist
Nadh Ha Naseer, Maldives - Computational Urban Designer

Contact & Info

We are open to ongoing collaborations and enquiries - emails us!

︎ 4d.island@gmail.com

︎  @4d_Island
︎  @4d_Island

Website design by 4D Island

4D island is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company registered in England and Wales. Company no. 12636027

Copyright - 4D Island CIC 2022