Design with Water. Back to the Future

Francesca Guerrucci


ABSTRACT: Cities are undergoing severe water shortages. Many actions are underway to counteract this situation which poses a severe threat to the survival and welfare of humankind. The deleterious impacts of water shortage are becoming glaringly evident in all parts of the world and are particularly alarming in developing countries. In the meantime, contemporary architectural design and urban planning are locked in a paradigm that valorizes practices with high costs of construction and maintenance based on the powers of technology to create buildings and urban landscapes that are, with rare exceptions, not in harmony with the environment and with water conservation. As an alternative, urban design with water aims to maximize water supply and conservation, while minimizing any harmful impact on the natural habitat in a manner that optimizes the role of the built environment as a means for an enjoyable life. As a source of inspiration, traditional water management systems from different parts of the world are explored. Sever case studies have been selected in this study to reveal the range and creativity of traditional and historical methods developed in different parts of the world to harvest and store water. These methods allow us to extract principles for urban design that can be used to supplement water supply and increase storage capacity, while in the mean time contributing to the amelioration and integrity of the ecological habitat.


Keywords: Urban Design; Traditional Water Management Systems; Water History, Archaeology    Of Water; Water Architecture; Rainkeep Project; Mexico City; Burj Khalifa