Architecture and Water
Water is the basis of life, a threat, a source of energy, a climate buffer, a transport route and a tourist attraction. For human civilization its role is ambivalent, to say the least. This is also the case in architecture, where cool moisture must be harnessed or prevented, depending on the situation.
Our current issue gives an impression of the multifaceted relationship between architecture and water. We show Europe’s first underwater restaurant in Norway and the town hall of Eysturkommuna on the Faroe Islands, which spans a river, doubling as a pedestrian bridge. In the south of Corsica, there is a new workshop and storage building for local fishermen, while the small German town of Vreden near the Dutch border has redesigned its historic periphery along the Berkel River with a new museum building. Visitors to the bathhouse in Karlshamn in southern Sweden, and to the school swimming pool in Ashtead near London, can enjoy very direct contact with water. The ancient Chinese trading city of Suzhou, with its world-famous canals and gardens, has a very traditional relationship to water. Echoes of this atmosphere can be found at the community centre of a new district on the outskirts of the city, which we document in this issue.
Water as a resource as well as a threat is addressed by our essay and our technology article in this issue. They both examine issues of increasing importance: flood protection in architecture and urban planning, and the use of rainwater and grey water in buildings. Though the future of the global climate may be uncertain, there seems no denying that extreme weather conditions, drought and heavy rainfall are increasing in many places. And the well advised will take structural precautions in good time.