Flooding is a significant problem for buildings all around the world, including architectural treasures like the Farnsworth House that have been plagued by the issue time and time again. In particular, one-third of the entire continental U.S. are at risk of flooding this spring, especially the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, and Deep South. In April of 2019, deadly floods decimated parts of Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Iran as well, resulting in a low estimate of 1,000 deaths while tens of thousands more were displaced. While architecture cannot solve or even fully protect from the most deadly floods, it is possible – and necessary – to take several protective measures that could mitigate damage and consequently save lives.
Flooding: The Latest Architecture and News
Earlier this month, the city of Miami released a draft version of its comprehensive plan to combat the effects of climate change. The so-called Stormwater Master Plan (SWMP) will be implemented to alleviate the threat of flooding throughout the city, improve the quality of water in Biscayne Bay, and fortify its coastline against stronger and more frequent storm surges over the next 40 years, at an overall cost estimate of $3.8 billion.
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
In this week's reprint, Martin C. Pedersen talks with John Englander, author of Moving to Higher Ground: Rising Sea Level and the Path Forward, about the “unstoppable” sea-level rise. The article explores the importance of planning for this challenge right away. In fact, "we have some time, but not all the time in the world" states John Englander.
Factum Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the use of digital technology for cultural heritage conservation, in collaboration with the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Iconem have recorded the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, in Venice, Italy, in its entirety. For more than 10 days, the team using photogrammetry and LiDAR technologies scanned the 10-hectare island. The project entitled ARCHiVe, linked with EPFL's Venice Time Machine aims to “efficiently and effectively aid in the preservation of Venice's fragile cultural heritage”.
Heatherwick Studio has designed the Cove, a new waterfront experience for San Francisco. Seeking to activate and improve the beachfront, “while future-proofing the historic district and the City against the risks of earthquakes and climate change”, the Cove will put in place a next-generation, high-performance waterfront community that uniquely identifies with San Francisco.
Focusing on research, education, and public engagement, the Trust for Governors Island unveiled plans to develop a climate solutions center, designed by WXY Architecture + Urban Design. Inspired by the unique environment of the island, the project will generate a public living laboratory, cementing NYC’s position as a leader in climate change action.
Built in a flood plain along the Fox River, the Farnsworth House, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is endangered again. Floodwaters are threatening the modernist house once more, as water levels are rising to reach the top of the house’s steel columns, covering its lower terrace.
KPF and the Chiofaro Company have released images of their latest project The Pinnacle at Central Wharf, a high performance and resilient mixed-use development on the Boston Harbor waterfront. Aiming to reconnect Downtown Boston to the waterfront, the project also puts in place a new public space.
Goldman Sachs has released a report on the effects of climate change on cities across the world. The study explored the major changes that will transform the planet and highlighted several metropolises that will be at risk of flooding.
Kjellander Sjöberg, one of the leading architectural practices in Scandinavia, in collaboration with GHB Landskabsarkitekter, Mogens A. Morgen, Realise and Tyréns, was selected to design a strategic development plan for Faaborg. The coastal town in southern Denmark is facing many challenges like a high risk of flooding and an important decrease in its population.
Two Trees Management Company, a New York-based real estate development firm, has presented a master plan for the Northern Brooklyn waterfront, a new approach to urban resiliency. Designed by BIG and Field Operations, the project puts in place a mixed-use development and a resilient park.
Istanbul-based practice SO? have designed and built a prototype floating structure for post-earthquake relief. “Fold&Float” is formed of a light, foldable steel structure specifically designed for emergency situations.
Developed off the back of emergency assembly points being designated by the authorities in 2001, SO? questioned where people could be housed in the event of an earthquake. The question has gained added significance in the last 20 years, with Istanbul having privatized 70% of the land set aside for emergency assembly. The result was a floating structure that depends not on vacant, stable land, but on managing water.
RAAAF and Atelier de Lyon's Monumental "Deltewerk //" is a Tribute to the Majesty of Dutch Flood Defenses
Amsterdam-based RAAAF and Atelier de Lyon have completed an imposing Dutch monument paying tribute to the country’s centuries-old flood defense systems. “Deltawerk //” appropriates the enormous decaying test models in the Waterloopbos national monument, a former Dutch Hydrodynamics laboratory.
Deltawerk //, which opened September 27th, is envisioned as a “tribute to the majesty and seemingly indestructible power of the Dutch delta works,” shedding new light on the “practice of preserving cultural heritage.”
Against the backdrop of an ever-increasing number of its farmers committing suicides, and its cities crumbling under intensifying pressure on their water resources—owing to their rapidly growing populations—India has revived its incredibly ambitious Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) project which aims to create a nation-wide water-grid twice the length of the Nile. The $168 billion project, first envisioned almost four decades ago, entails the linkage of thirty-seven of the country’s rivers through the construction of thirty canals and three-thousand water reservoirs. The chief objective is to address India’s regional inequity in water availability: 174 billion cubic meters of water is proposed to be transported across river basins, from potentially water-surplus to water-deficit areas.
The project is presented by the Indian government as the only realistic means to increase the country’s irrigation potential and per-capita water storage capacity. However, it raises ecological concerns of gargantuan proportions: 104,000 hectares of forest land will be affected, leading to the desecration of natural ecosystems. Experts in hydrology also question the scientific basis of treating rivers as “mere conduits of water.” Furthermore, the fear of large-scale involuntary human displacement—an estimated 1.5 million people—likely to be caused by the formation of water reservoirs is starting to materialize into a popular uprising.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous house, Fallingwater, was the recipient of minor damage after heavy rainfall caused the creek that gives the house its name, Bear Run, to flood last weekend.
According to Fallingwater director Lynda Waggoner, a fallen log picked up by the overflow rammed into the stone wall of the lower plunge pool, breaking off the wall’s capstone and dislodging one of the home’s signature sculpture pieces, the Jacques Lipchitz’s “Mother and Child.” The cast bronze sculpture was selected for Fallingwater by Wright, and installed soon after its completion in 1939.
Kunlé Adeyemi’s recent work, the 'Makoko Floating School', is an innovative, prototype floating structure located on the lagoon heart of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. This acclaimed project is part of an extensive research project - 'African Water Cities' - being developed by NLÉ, an architecture, design, and urbanism practice founded by Adeyemi in 2010 with a focus on developing cities and communities.
Architects can do far more than design buildings. In fact, some of history’s most acclaimed innovators were not only architects, but also inventors. Leonardo da Vinci himself, the epitome of the Renaissance man, sketched buildings alongside ideas for flying machines. Buckminster Fuller was the ultimate futurist and invented the geodesic dome in addition to his Dymaxion Car, an automobile that was far ahead of its time. Now, an architect has developed “the world’s first hoverboard,” and the technology has far-reaching implications for not only transportation, but also buildings themselves. Read on after to break to learn more about what this technology could mean for the future.