Aquatecture: Designing Water Adaptable Architecture

By Jennifer Opal Van Horn.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper will address a new approach towards architecture reflecting on the consequences of the city’s land based building practice in ecology that is predominately water based. There is a need for opportunities to work with the natural water ecology as a solution for future flooding. Flooding threatens lives, infrastructure, and the economy. In the past fifty years Thailand has moved away from water-based communities and designs, which is what is creating some of the problems and contradicting the water-based design Bangkok should be utilizing. Bangkok was once designed as a liquid-based system, designed with a multitude of natural and constructed waterways to help with the flow of water in the Chao Phraya delta. The klongs were used to manage the seasonal surpluses and deficits in water, based on the monsoon rains. As industry grew in Bangkok, the klongs grew into asphalt ‘highway’ transport systems for the city. The most common solution is to float and rise up with the flood waters. Floating structure is a solution for whole complexes to float, as opposed to the many single unit floating houses. Many of the public amenities and utilities will not float; therefore the city will no longer be fully functioning. New developments need to incorporate building marsh landscapes as a temporary solution for the temporary flooding. The next step in this new design process is to design for the city or country as a whole. A flooding solution is not to have a single building which can float, but rather a whole city that can remain functional with water. We need to evolve design to welcome water as a part of the system of a city and to work with in and create new water-based vernacular.

Keywords: Architecture, Aquatecture, Flooding

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.59-69. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 585.278KB).

Jennifer Opal Van Horn

Graduate Student, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, USA

Jennifer was born in Moraine, Ohio, but grew up in Bangkok, Thailand, from the age of 7-18. Growing up overseas allowed an exposure to a multitude of cultures and a chance to travel throughout the world. Jennifer is currently finishing the Master of Architecture program at Miami University. Jennifer’s interest in architecture started in high school in wood shop class, followed by the influences from other art classes of drafting, dance, 3D modeling, and photography. In 2007, Jennifer returned to Ohio to persue a Bachelor in Architecture at Miami University. After graduating in 2010, Jennifer worked and lived in the Over-the-Rhine community in Cincinnati, Ohio. During that time she participated in the Atelier Program, co-hosted by Miami University Center for Community Engagement and CR architecture+design, working on a church revitalization and a proposal for a retirement community in the area. Jennifer is currently working with the Toledo Design Center and has loved having an influence, however small, in the new development within a city.