The exhibition «Swim City», held at the S AM Swiss Architecture Museum from the 25th of May to the 29th of September 2019, is the first to draw attention to a particular contemporary phenomenon in urban space: river swimming as a mass movement. Swiss cities have played a leading role in the development of this activity over the last few decades, gradually opening up the river as a natural public space within the built environment. The river has thereby become a place of leisure, open to all, located right in front of residents’ doors and seamlessly integrated into everyday life.
Water: The Latest Architecture and News
During the modern period, the buildings that used the traditional sloping roofs with tiles, draining the waters as quickly as possible, have begun to give way to the well-known 'waterproof flat roofs.' In spite of delivering a clean aesthetic to the project, allowing the use of the last slab as a space for living and contemplation, this solution can become a headache for its occupants if its execution and design are not careful. It is no accident that there have been infiltrations in famous modern buildings, such as the Vile Savoye or the Farnsworth House, designed by great masters of architecture. Currently, the civil construction industry has developed more sophisticated products and techniques that drastically reduce the chances of subsequent infiltration. However, we could say that waterproof flat slabs continue to be fragile points in buildings. The architects from Brasil Arquitetura have improved an inventive and very simple solution to avoid infiltrations in flat slabs, much used in the 70's by architects like Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Ruy Ohtake, filling them with vegetation.
Within architecture, water evokes sentiments of calmness and wellbeing. The element has influenced design through its dynamic and fluid nature. With recent technological advances, architects have created some of the most strategic, innovative, and unexpected intersections of design and H2O.
Below, we have provided a roundup of indoor pools that highlight the application of water in different spaces, showing its relationship to materiality and use.
The 2°C Symposium is an opportunity to learn essential technologies, strategies and tools that address climate change at a critical time for our collective future.
As part of a collaboration between the Centre Pompidou and the Mao Jihong Arts Foundation, the Cosmopolis #1.5: 'Enlarged Intelligence' exhibition features the developments of NLÉ Makoko Floating School. The Minjiang Floating System (MFS IIIx3), the fourth prototype and the third iteration of the prefabricated self-built system for water, investigates methods to counter the challenges posed by urbanization and climate change.
Earlier prototypes of the Makoko Floating School include the Waterfront Atlas (MFS II) launched in Venice, Italy and the Minne Floating School (MFS III) in Bruges, Belgium. The project, initially developed for the water in Lagos, is now usable in all these sites including the Jincheng Lake in Chengdu.
Water – an element in nature that life is constantly surrounded by; an element that has given birth to life on Earth and continues to support it. Although we made our shift to land, our bond with water still remains significant as ever; it is an element that is a basic necessity for our survival.
The life on Earth is today plagued by adverse climate changes, global warming, the increasing toxic emissions, rising population, and scarce land resources. With various countries, such as Holland , fighting rising water levels for decades and with the current trends, it is now time to brace ourselves against the unseen future and design solutions to cope with the ever-changing community on Planet Earth.
Today, the discourse of ‘smart cities’ has overtaken every conversation discussing the future of architecture. It is a glaring question as to how are we going to address the equation between the contrasting aspects of ecological crises and technological advancement for building our futures.
Covering 71% of the Earth, it is now time to look at the water again as a harbinger of life in the near future; a place where human life can again thrive in its original glory. Creating living spaces on water will soon become a need to survive as a
“What happens in the Arctic, does not stay in the Arctic”
Extract - Greenpeace report on melting ice in Arctic paradigms of nature.
This week we have prepared a selection of photographs in which reflections in water is used as the main compositional element. In these images, the surface qualities of the water play a fundamental role in giving the composition its final effect—either acting as a perfect mirror or giving a diffuse touch. Below is a selection of 10 images from prominent photographers such as Lu Hengzhong, Yao Li, and Nico Saieh.
There is something about water that continually captures our imagination. Tranquil, dramatic, or ever-changing, the architecture of public baths and swimming pools can enhance the inherent qualities of water. Bathhouses were traditionally meeting-spaces where social differences bled away into skin and steam. Even in contemporary architectural projects, spaces for swimming and bathing often feel like a separate world, therapeutic and intimate.
Below are 12 projects that display stunning spaces for communal bathing and swimming.
March 22 is World Water Day, an annual international celebration launched and organized by the United Nations. The goal of the day is to raise awareness about a wide range of water-based issues from around the world. This year’s theme is “Nature From Water”, which invites everyone to think about how nature can provide solutions to the water challenges we face today.
To celebrate World Water Day this year, we’ve rounded up 20 of our favorite projects that utilize water as a central design feature. Whether it be Zumthor's Thermal Vals or Chritso and Jeanne-Claude's Floating Piers, water has been playing an important role in architectural design and in demarcating the boundaries of nature against our built environment.
Earlier this month, Studio Bas van der Veer, the Dutch product design studio, unveiled its design for a rain barrel at the three-day fair, spoga+gafa 2017, in Cologne. Van der Veer, a graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, initially designed the product – then titled ‘A Drop of Water’ – as part of his thesis in 2009, for which he not only won the prestigious René Smeets Award for best project at the school’s Graduate Galleries exhibition but was also shortlisted for the Melkweg Award. Over the years, the design won numerous accolades, including the Journées des Collections Jardin - Innovation Award, and the Tuinidee Award.
Thirty years ago, on my first visit to India, I glanced over an ordinary wall. The ground fell away and was replaced by an elaborate, man-made chasm the length and depth of which I couldn’t fathom. It was disorienting and even transgressive; we are, after all, conditioned to look up at architecture, not down into it, and I had no clue as to what I was looking at. Descending into the subterranean space only augmented the disorientation, with telescoping views and ornate, towering columns that paraded five stories into the earth. At the bottom, above-ground noises became hushed, harsh light had dimmed, and the intense mid-day heat cooled considerably. It was like stepping into another world.
Architects play a crucial role in addressing both the causes and effects of climate change through the design of the built environment. Innovative design thinking is key to producing architecture that meets human needs for both function and delight, adapts to climate change projections, continues to support the health and well being of inhabitants despite natural and human-caused disasters, and minimizes contributions to further climate change through greenhouse gas emissions.
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.
How much effort are you willing to put in to attract that special someone? The humble Japanese pufferfish, just twelve centimeters long when un-puffed, almost certainly has you beat. To attract the best fish in the sea, male pufferfish spend at least seven 24-hour days completing an intricate mating ritual that involves swimming their bodies into and through the seafloor to form ridges and trenches in the sand. If they pause too early, the entire ordeal gets washed away by currents.
Ideasforward wants to give young creative people from around the world the opportunity to express their views on the future of societies through their innovative and visionary proposals. We are an experimental platform seeking progressive ideas that reflect on emerging themes. The eco design, sustainable architecture, new materials, concepts and technologies are compelling issues in the societies of the future and the involvement of the whole community is imperative.
Throughout the past century, architecture's relationship with water has developed along a variety of different paths. With his “Fallingwater” house, for example, the American master Frank Lloyd Wright confronted the dramatic flow of water with strong horizontal lines to heighten the experience of nature. Since then, architecture's use of water has become more varied and complex. A space made almost purely of water emerged with Isamu Noguchi's design at the Osaka World Expo: glistening water appeared to fall from nowhere and glowed in the dark. Later with digitalization and fluid forms as design parameters, the focus shifted towards liquid architecture made of water and light. The interpretations have ranged from architectural forms modeled after literal drops of water, like Bernhard Franken´s visionary “Bubble” for BMW, to spectacular walk-in installations made of lines of water, transformed into pixels by light.
The War Over Water: This Dystopian City Design Was Inspired by Current Trends in Resource Extraction
It’s the year 2036 in Generic City, a gloomy place where once mighty skyscrapers are lucky to be in decrepit condition, if they haven’t already been swallowed by the ever-increasing number of sinkholes appearing throughout the city. But the city is not lifeless: a constant hum echoes about the city, a well-choreographed churning motion in pursuit of one central activity. In this city, the world’s most precious commodity—not gold, not diamonds, not even black gold but just simple, fresh water is under the total control of a mega-corporation named Turquoise. The people are ruled by an oppressive autocracy and life is divided between the haves and have-nots. Life revolves around access to water.
Is this the opening paragraph of the latest dystopian novel? No, but it might be Joshua Dawson’s interpretation of our troubling future. With CÁUSTICO, an ode to the growing tradition of “speculative design fiction” pioneered by countercultural avant-gardists of the 1960s (think Archigram, Superstudio and Archizoom) Dawson exaggerates the implications of current social phenomena for the purposes of rhetoric. While the truthfulness of his vision is a little on the improbable side, the work is an eye-opening narrative on the increasing scarcity of fresh water. At the same time, Dawson’s dystopic vision opens a conversation about the relationship of the architect with utopianism, while his representational techniques brings up the question of what exactly the work of the architect entails.
California is suffering through its 5th year of severe water shortage. Aquifers and rivers continue to dry out as the water provided by melting snowpacks is reduced, and even the heavy rain brought by El Niño this year could not relieve the drought. Authorities are wary of the long-term consequences for California and neighboring areas of the Colorado River, and Santa Monica is now seeing a growing number of initiatives to control the use of potable water and find sustainable solutions.
Most recently, a competition asked architects, artists and scientists to conceive sustainable infrastructure projects to improve Santa Monica’s water supply. Bart//Bratke and studioDE developed a raft structure named “Foram” that illustrates the future of floating platforms in sustainable development.