Architecture & Water: Exploring Radical Ideas To Unlock The Potential of Urban Waterways

In the first part of their new micro documentary series on architecture and water, Ellis Woodman and a team at the Architectural Review (AR) have collaborated with architects, developers, urbanists and thinkers to examine the latent connections between water infrastructure and our built environment. Taking a journey by narrowboat through London, discussing a raft of radical ideas which may offer the keys to unlocking the potential of the river along the way, the films discuss how we might begin to shape the contemporary city's relationship with its urban waterways. Can "floating parks, amphibious houses, floodable public squares, new wetlands or brand new canals foster a more meaningful relationship between the citizen and the city’s waters?"

Does climate change present an urgent need to rethink our rivers and, if so, what challenges and opportunities does the urban waterway bring with it? As cities become ever denser and housing shortages squeeze the urban poor, can urban waterways become more than a transport route and pretty views to boost property values? Most fundamentally, how is the potent and rapidly changing relationship between architecture and water affecting the city and wider society?

Ellis Woodman on the canals. Image Courtesy of The Architectural Review
Courtesy of The Architectural Review

This is the first of a series of three films exploring the relationship between architecture and water which the AR will share with ArchDaily over the next three weeks. The second part, entitled Gentrification Machine, will explore whether water is a force that will unlock an increasingly unaffordable city, or one that will fuel a trend of gentrification and displacement. The final installment, entitled Water Park, will question whether or not a river can become more than a mere transport route and pretty view? "Through recreation, interaction and radical ideas such as floating parks, amphibious houses and new public wetlands can the river become a living part of the city?"

The AR are also hosting a number of associated debates at the Old Royal Naval College in London. Find out more and book tickets here.

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Cite: James Taylor-Foster. "Architecture & Water: Exploring Radical Ideas To Unlock The Potential of Urban Waterways" 23 Oct 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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