Aquatecture - review
Robert Barker and Richard Coutts – 'Aquatecture: Buildings and cities designed to live and work with water'
This hefty and well-presented new book from the RIBA examines the vital role played by water in shaping the built environment. Since we depend on, use, and live with water, it is important that 'designing for water' is considered.
When one thinks of 'aquatecture', the first place that may spring to mind is Venice, a western city that is unique for being built on and around a lagoon. But modern architects too have sought to push the boundaries of the relationship between water and buildings; from Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic Falling Water, and Louis Kahn's Salk Institute, to Diller Scofidio & Renfro's Blur Building.
The book defines aquatecture as, 'A water-centric approach to design in which flood-risk management, development pressure and adaptation to climate change are simultaneously reconciled to allow buildings and cities to live and work with water.'
It examines the possible combinations of water and architecture, beginning with an historical overview. The relationship between water and architecture is examined; how water has shaped civilisations, how pressures from urbanisation increase the need to make space for water, and how best to cope with flooding through integrated design approaches.
It progresses on to what the possible future could look like in a world where climate change and flooding are increasing risks. It explores international approaches to designing with water across key disciplines of planning, landscape design, infrastructure and architecture. New innovative techniques are explored that the authors claim could 'revolutionise the way we think about water, design and urban planning'. Each is discussed and their respective effectiveness assessed.
Such innovations include:
- Amphibious (floating) buildings.
- Elevated buildings.
- Wet- and dry-proof buildings.
- Rain gardens.
- Flood storage.
- New methods of waterfront design.
Four case studies are provided:
- Building perspective: Amphibious house.
- Neighbourhood perspective: Seine Gare Vitry, Paris.
- City perspective: Shanghai, Future City.
- Regional perspective: Nijmegen and Lent, Netherlands.
Intended as a reference tool for architects, urban designers, planners and sustainability experts, 'Aquatecture' strikes a successful balance between providing technical information and exploring ambitious theories for future development. The illustrations and images throughout the book are excellent and serve to make it well-structured and a pleasure to dive in and out of and to examine in more depth.
For more information and to purchase 'Aquatecture', please see RIBA Bookshop.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Bill Gething and Katie Puckett - Design for Climate Change.
- Blur Building.
- Charles Waldheim - Landscape as Urbanism: A General Theory.
- Coastal defences.
- Flood risk.
- Groundwater control in urban areas.
- Owen Hatherley - Landscapes of Communism.
- Prenuptial Housing.
- River engineering.
- Sustainable water.
- Thames barrier.
- Types of water.
- Urban Rigger.
- Water conservation.
- Water engineering.
Featured articles and news
This unique Brutalist-era car park just off Oxford Street is soon to be demolished.
How to utilise technology in construction projects and what benefits will it bring?
Have a look at Thomas Heatherwick's new building, one he calls 'the tubiest in the world'.
Artificial intelligence will have a significant impact on the built environment, according to a new survey by ICE.
Construction is often seen as too traditional, lacking innovation and collaboration. But are these perceptions fair?
Designing Buildings Wiki attended CIAT's Architectural Technology Awards 2017. Find out the winners here.
BSI make revisions to BS 5839-1 for fire detection and fire alarm systems in commercial buildings.
An introductory article to the change control procedure for building design and construction.
Only weeks after his Garden Bridge is scrapped, Thomas Heatherwick's plan for Pier 55 in New York is abandoned.
British Land are given planning permission for their £300m extension of Meadowhall shopping centre.
30 years ago, Walter Segal's radical self-builders completed Walters Way. We talked to the author of a new book about the project, and its influence on self-build today.
This article has a look at the top 10 most expensive construction projects in the world.