Saturday, November 8, 2008




Global warming poses a threat to the world in which we live. Scientists agree that the average temperature of the Earth is steadily increasing. In the last century alone the average temperature has increased 0.6 degrees Celsius around the world (National Geographic). Ice caps of Mount Kilimanjaro melted, and coral reefs are disappearing. The biggest threat, however, lies in a dramatically rising sea level. In 2004, it was noted that the oceans raised 4 to 8 inches. The biggest fear is if Greenland’s ice sheet was to melt. If this occurs, the US eastern seaboard faces a grave threat. The cities conveniently located on ports for access to water, transit, and trade, will face devastating effects. Traditional forms of habitation will no longer be feasible. This thesis begins on the premise of a disaster on the scale that sea level raises to a level that cities cannot survive. It necessitates a new way of living—a way of living on water. In this scenario water plays the paradoxical role of both the enemy and the only hope for survival.


-Human habitation always occurs in the most unstable places.

-Humans have a history of living where they should not, and a history of facing natural disasters.

-Many cities already are water cities: Venice, Amsterdam, Bangkok. However, none of them are dealing with the conditions of water in innovative ways. Traditional building typologies are applied in brutal climates.

-If one looks to the past—many innovative ways of looking at the merging of water and architecture.

Examples: Islamic cities-Fes

Mughal temples-Alhambra

Indian cities-Agra

Roman aqueducts

Bath houses

Mills of Crete

-in the past was a celebration of architecture and water

-modernism forged water into its utilitarian role and it became increasingly privatized and hidden in pipes

-revival of celebration of water begins to be seen in the 80s

Design Proposition

In the case of Agra, six geographical scales of the role of water exist in the city fabric, beginning at the internal garden water system, and stretching to its regional water system. All of these were highly designed. For my thesis I propose designing a city for the flooded condition of water that performs both functionally as a mode of survival, and expressively as a celebration of water.

No comments: