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Dolosse: Innovating Coastal Defense with Eric Merrifield’s Concrete Giants


In the realm of coastal engineering and defense against the relentless forces of the sea, one name stands out prominently – Eric Merrifield. His ingenious creation, the Dolos, has transformed the way we approach coastal protection. These massive, uniquely shaped concrete blocks, weighing up to 20 tons each, have become a beacon of innovation in safeguarding harbor walls and coastal installations from the destructive power of ocean waves.

The Birth of Dolosse:

Eric Merrifield’s journey into coastal engineering began with a profound understanding of the challenges posed by the dynamic nature of the sea. Waves, tides, and storms relentlessly erode coastlines, threatening vital infrastructure and ecosystems. In response to this, Merrifield conceived the idea of Dolosse – colossal, interlocking concrete structures that would disrupt and dissipate wave energy, providing enhanced protection for vulnerable coastal areas.

Design and Functionality:

Dolosse, a term derived from the Afrikaans word for “tumbling,” are visually striking structures with an intricate design that serves a specific purpose. Each Dolos resembles a massive, three-dimensional jacks-like shape, featuring multiple interlocking arms and a central core. This design is not just aesthetically pleasing but serves a crucial function in breaking up wave action.

The irregular shape and complex geometry of Dolosse work in tandem to dissipate the energy of incoming waves. As waves crash against these concrete giants, the intricate structure causes turbulence, reducing the force of the waves and preventing erosion of coastal structures. Moreover, the interlocking nature of Dolosse ensures stability, even under the harshest conditions.

Applications and Impact:

The versatility of Dolosse has led to its widespread adoption in coastal engineering projects around the world. From protecting harbor walls and coastal installations to stabilizing cliffs and mitigating beach erosion, Dolosse has proven to be a formidable solution.

The implementation of Dolosse has not only safeguarded critical infrastructure but has also had positive ecological impacts. By minimizing coastal erosion, these structures contribute to the preservation of natural habitats and support biodiversity along coastlines.

Global Recognition:

Eric Merrifield’s invention has gained global recognition as a sustainable and effective solution to coastal challenges. Governments, engineering firms, and environmental agencies worldwide have embraced Dolosse as a key element in their coastal defense strategies. The success stories of Dolosse deployments speak volumes about its efficacy in protecting communities and promoting environmental resilience.


In the ever-evolving field of coastal engineering, Eric Merrifield’s Dolosse stands tall as a testament to human ingenuity and innovation. These concrete giants, with their unique design and formidable functionality, have reshaped the way we confront the challenges of coastal erosion and wave action. As we look to the future, the legacy of Dolosse serves as an inspiration for further advancements in coastal protection, emphasizing the profound impact that a single invention can have on the resilience of our coastal communities.

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