Up, Up, and Away!

May 16, 2012

Tomorrow I embark on a month long journey through Europe studying how cities and architecture there have given more space to water. I won a traveling fellowship through the School of Architecture and AIA Charlotte to fund my studies, which I’ll extend into my thesis year in the Master of architecture and urban design programs.

A few goals for the trip: I would like to talk to different planners, architects, engineers, designers, about how they are preparing for future changes in climate – like more flooding and storms. I want to learn more about how water is managed in cities – for example – how it is seen as a benefit, rather than a burden. I’m curious in the Rotterdam Climate Initiative and how they are building more space for water. This includes above ground storm water management (canals, etc). I’m also curious how architects are responding to the increasing possibility that water will be covering the area more frequently – are they designing floating structures? Or building up the land? Or other innovative solutions? Are there ecological solutions, like conserving the marshland and wetlands (these have absorbing powers) that planners are using in their cities?
So, I am interested in how these designs happen in architecture and also at a bigger scale in cities and future developments. I also dont know much about polders, so I want to learn about those! I’m really looking for forward thinkers who are being proactive about the future instead of reactive!
Here’s a general map of my travels (but subtract London and add Berlin)

Map of the travel stops

This is an example of the kinds of solutions I’m looking for – an idea that is multi beneficial across many needs: people, ecological, flooding protection, for example. Here’s a rendering I did of a Richard Serra sculpture in the Delaware River along Philadelphia’s coast that acts at once as a sea wall, public art, and ecological habitat.

Richard Serra public art seawall idea rendering

Richard Serra public art/seawall/habitat idea for Philadelphia I designed.

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