Monday, February 4, 2008

Elements: Water

Water. How do you talk about it without sounding like a commercial for some sort of Brita water filter? Projects abound that deal with stormwater and water as resources - as we have evolved outside the terms of 'waste' and looked at it as a viable resource.

:: An Exercise in Futility (by rebekka) - image via green.MNP

Aside from the thirst quenching (for plants and humans) benefits - an aspect of projects (my work included) is ways of artfully expressing water in inventive (yet still sustainable ways). A few projects of a more art/architectural nature:

From Architecture.MNP via Reuters, public artist Olafur Eliasson's new project NYC Waterfalls, proposes: "...seeing water in a different way,” Eliasson told a news conference on Wednesday, unveiling plans for the waterfalls, which will range in height from 90 to 120 feet — around the same as the Statue of Liberty from head to toe."

:: images via Architecture.MNP

BD Online mentions Terry Ferrell's aquarium (i kept thinking of Jane's Addiction every time i see that name in print) project in London, which includes watery and vegetated forms. From the article "The naturally ventilated aquarium will boast an ETFE roof — as used on Grimshaw’s Eden project in Cornwall — and will include a series of biomes arranged around a central atrium, each housing a complete eco-system. Four biomes will recreate water habitats from the Amazon, the British Isles, the Indo-Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean, while the fifth will focus on protecting aquatic species."

:: image via BDonline

For the Bejing Olympics - adjacent to Herzog & de Meuron's somewhat deadly Bird's Nest, is PTW Architect's glistening The Water Cube (aka the Beijing National Aquatics Center) takes liquidity to the extreme both indoors and out...

:: image via Treehugger

Finally, we all know the energy potential from hydro-electric and wave-action as well as other water-based techniques. Any movement of matter has a potential for release of energy, even rain, as Treehugger reports that Scientists have developed technology to harvest minute amounts of energy from falling rain. Sounds like a great idea, as we run into water shortages as well as energy shortages, it makes a lot of sense to look at all of our options.

:: image via Atelier Dreiseitl

Water is precious. It is also a resource that landscape architecture and urban design must protect, and celebrate with all projects. Hidden infrastructure does nothing to express the beauty and poetry of falling rain, or the flowing of water across surfaces... it's up to designers and artists, following the lead of Herbert Dreiseitl, Bill Wenk, and Buster Simpson to name a few, make sure these are expressed, beautifully - every day.

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