Superpositions | Philippe Rahm | Johansen Skovsted | AL_A | Vector architects | RAAAF | Plug architecture | RCR | Frank Lloyd Wright | Typology: Dam
For centuries, the primary response of architects and engineers to water has been one of resistance – controlling natural forces in an attempt to prevent catastrophes. In a bid to reconcile architects with water, this issue examines designs defined by landscape, and proves that challenges can be turned into assets. As an agent of transformation, water should be embraced.
From the deltaic milieu of Dhaka, Kazi K Ashraf invites us to reconsider the shifting boundaries between wet and dry, river and bank, ocean and shore. Cities need not be bastions of dryness, and we should instead be weaving aqueous narratives and setting landscapes in motion. Based on the other side of the planet, in the arid climate of California, Hadley Arnold speculates on the future of dryland ecosystems.
We look at projects from Geneva to Mérida, study Philippe Rahm’s creation of microclimatic environments at the heart of Taichung and discuss the potential for cultural institutions to revive neglected waterfronts in Lisbon and Suzhou. In Jutland, Johansen Skovsted demonstrate that even modest pumping stations can stand as modern monuments to complex hydraulic transformations.
From the Netherlands, a country famous for its historical struggle with water, RAAAF tells the story of the Delta Works and exposes its vision to give new life to this unique engineering feat. Typology tackles the mega scale and traces back the history of dams, between civilising technology and salutation of destruction, while Outrage denounces the human, cultural and environmental damage caused by the cruise industry.
And, as Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta were in Tokyo last week to receive their Pritzker Prize, William J R Curtis examines the presence of water in several projects designed by the Catalan trio – from process to landscape, as natural material and atmospheric element, both powerful and poetic.