In 1966, Eric Merrifield and Aubrey Kruger came up with the idea of a concrete structure that could protect the East London harbour breakwater from stormy seas.

They assembled a makeshift structure with broom handles and string. This prototype “dolos” looked like an H with one leg turned through 90º. It was named after the knucklebones of a sheep, which it resembled. 

aFull-sized dolosse were cast in concrete and successfully placed along the seaward edge of the breakwater in East London. They were lighter and easier to make and handle than previous solid-cube breakwater blocks. The dolos works well because it does not resist the power of the ocean. Rather, it’s three-dimensional shape and the spaces between the solid concrete pods dissipate the energy of the waves. Furthermore, as dolosse interlock loosely with one another, they jointly form an interconnected superstructure that rocks and rolls with the sea.