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Nature Reactive Architecture - Water Research Centre
In the process of reconstruction of damaged environmental systems the human activity that primarily causes the damage is overlooked. This approach results in superficial solutions which usually fail in the long run.
The main objective of this thesis is to find new approaches of environmental solutions through architectural intervention which would reinforce both human and environmental activity and also achieve spatial reawakening of such wastelands. For this purpose the theoretical concepts of a borderline presented by Lebbeus Woods will be used to propose a unique architectural intervention specific to the borderline condition.
The characteristics of borderline conditions are inherent at the banks of Rawal Lake. The man made reservoir is being threatened by unchecked development spawning near its banks. The problem of sewage being disposed directly into the lake has surfaced. The drinking water reserve is rapidly being polluted and similar human activity is damaging the environmental systems of the area. The lake has a great potential for development of new and existing systems. For this purpose a water research centre is being proposed for the site which will also incorporate programs that will be developed from the systems functioning on the site.
Keywords: Borderline, Ecotones, Water Architecture, Hybrid Architecture, Integration of
Ecotone: Anecotoneis a transition area between two biomes. It is where two communities meet and integrate. It may be narrow or wide, and it may be local (the zone between a field and forest) or regional (the transition between forest and grassland ecosystems).
Graves, R. (2011). Ecotone. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/152345
Borderline: Borderline is the natural space for transformation, where systems of all kinds collide and abrade, as the world breaks up, not into chaos, but rather into new patterns of order. (Woods 1998, 35)
Table of contents
- Theoretical Concepts
- Site Description
2 Thesis Statement
6 Strategic Plan
7 Research and Research Methodology
7.1 research phases
7.2 research strategy
7.2.1. Research Topic selection
7.2.2. Literature review
7.2.3. Conceptual framework
7.2.4. Research questions
7.2.5. Required information
7.2.6. Research strategy
8.1. Site selection criteria and impact
8.2. Site study
According to Tadao Ando: “The presence of architecture: regardless of its self-contained character – inevitably creates a new landscape. This implies the necessity of discovering the architecture which the site itself is seeking”.
The project will explore the possibility of amalgamating nature and architecture which will result a hybrid solution for a landscape which has lost its character of space and time. Every landscape requires a unique architecture that suits its existence and which reinforces its inherent character. In the case of the banks of Rawal Lake, the area’s whole existence and character is based upon its multiple borderline conditions.
1.1 Theoretical concepts
“The natural space for this transformation is the borderline, where systems of all kinds collide and abrade, as the world breaks up, not into chaos, but rather into new patterns of order” (Woods 1998, 35)
The following thesis description will utilize the word borderline as was defined and explained by Lebbeus Woods. The borderline identifies the existing condition when the superimposition of various systems takes place, reacting and colliding to provide a new landscape (Woods, 30).
These systems emerge from a wide range of human and biological activity, they can be anything from social conditions to ecological and biological conditions and more specifically deal with environmental phenomena, obsolete or growing infrastructure, and fluctuating economic activity. It is evident in the biological phenomena such as cell membrane and ecotones that most of the growth and development occurs in the borderline conditions. Such spaces are a natural ground for transformation and adaptation with interacting systems. These superimposed systems create landscapes that can incubate architectural redefinition and crave an architectural thought or as suggested by Woods, provides the grounds for the development of a new ‘mode of culture.’
This idea has generated the fundamental thesis proposition. By identification of superimposed systems and an appropriate reaction, new responsive architectural typology can emerge. Essentially the thesis challenges the traditional approach of architectural interventions in the case of an interesting borderline setting. The aim is to explore new creative responses to superimposed conditions in areas which do not generally welcome development. In other words, an architecture that not only embraces overlapping systems but enhances their existence. This will be achieved after comprehensive research of the systems the chosen site embodies.
1.2 Site Description
The borderline under examination for the thesis exists at the banks of Rawal dam in Islamabad. The bank is a borderline of two ecotones (water and land) and also it lies at the urban fringe of Islamabad and is a median land between planned and unplanned development.
Rawal Lake is an artificial lake constructed in 1960s. It is one of the two main water sources for the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The water is fed into the lake through Korang River and natural streams emerging from the Margallas. It serves as the main source of drinking in addition it also sources water to the nearby agricultural land. However what is of greater interest regarding this thesis is the colliding systems existing on its banks, some triggered by human settlement and activity and some resulting from evolutionary processes.
The artificial reservoir has become a great provider of life in the region. It is a sanctuary for numerous ecological systems and has become a survival ground for the flora and fauna of the area. It has also facilitated diverse human activity. Its banks are today being used for recreational activity which is generating notable economic growth. With recent emergence of unchecked construction the problem of sewage disposal into the lake has arisen. Considering that it serves as the main supply of drinking water of Rawalpindi, it is a serious concern.
Taking these parameters in consideration, the project will develop within the interplay of human activity and environmental system tied with the water of the reservoir.
Spatial reawakening at the banks of Rawal Lake through development of a new architectural typology from interacting systems.
2.1 Sub statement:
Borderline is a natural space for transformation. It hosts overlaying systems and have great creative potential. An ecotone is an example of a situation where different systems collide. From these superimposed systems a water research centre will emerge with programs derived from interacting systems, composed of a filter house and a living park for humans and wildlife.
The thesis aims to achieve the objectives set out below:
- Development of an architectural typology which integrates and emphasizes the relationship between natural and human systems on the banks of Rawal Lake
- Spatial reawakening of the area associated with Rawal Lake through social, economic and environmental uplift
- Proposing new systems to enhance the existing infrastructure
- Create an architectural typology which may direct future development trends
Rawal Lake has become a great provider of life within the bounds of its existence. It is a sanctuary for numerous ecological systems and has become a survival ground for the flora and fauna of the area. It has also facilitated diverse human activity. Its banks are today being used for recreational activity which is generating notable economic growth. It also has the potential of generating electricity. With recent emergence of unchecked construction the problem of sewage disposal into the lake as arisen. Considering that it serves as the main supply of drinking water of the area, it is a serious concern.
Its position and function can present great opportunities of development which can go beyond the function of just recreation. It exists on the urban fringe of Islamabad and can provide interesting state of affairs mediated in planned and unplanned development.
The scope of work outlined for the project is as follows:
- The project will consider the entire entity of the lake. Different ecological and human systems associated with the water body will be considered, but the proposed architectural solutions will be confined to the area of the selected site. The project will not explore the urban impact of the solution. It will generate a prototype of an architecture that enhances and regulates the environmental systems of Rawal lake
6 Strategic Plan
Woods, Lebbeus, and Ekkehard Rehfeld, eds., Borderline. New York: Springer Wien, 1998.
Groat, Linda and David Wang. Architectural Research Methods (2002)
McKloskey, Francis, "Borderline- Part 5" (2014).Senior Theses.Paper 206. http://surface.syr.edu/architecture_theses/206