Year-End Issue: Water
Dear FuturArc readers,
For the Floating Homes projects profile in this issue, we started with an observation that FuturArc Prize (an international Green design competition that focuses on architectural interventions in Asia) has, over the years, attracted an increasing number of solutions for waterside communities or water-related concerns. It has also been noticed that this proliferation of proposals mostly came from Indonesia and Vietnam entrants, a reflection of the daily lives of the people there or a sign of their most urgent needs.
Common among these entries has to do with keeping people afloat, literally—floating cities, communities, or even single buildings—based on the premise that the future will face a kind of deluge on a global scale, which would render land-based survival impossible.
This idea that the future is water has already taken root in some parts of the world with the development of real-life case studies such as OCEANIX City, a large-scale sustainable floating city currently being built in Busan.
Back to the present, taking water as an elemental cue, this issue reminds us of the necessity of designing with Nature-based principles to include all environmental factors, the lay of the land, as foundational—and not just as remedial steps or mitigation solutions. The latter have proved to be unsustainable most of the time, as Hoa Nguyen and Dzung Do Nguyen highlighted in the Main Feature article on embracing the different aspects of water ecosystems in architectural developments, illustrating with projects in Vietnam. They put it best when they said, “When we root our creations in Nature, resilience comes naturally.” Water is the most intimate reality in the projects highlighted here.
Aga Khan Awards for Architecture 2022 winner Co.Creation.Architects, founded by Khondaker Hasibul Kabir and Suhailey Farzana, spoke with Nipun Prabhakar on how water is such an integral part of Bangladesh that there is no avoiding “water, children and the communities” when engaging with people on the ground through a collaborative process, the outcome of which contributed to the global recognition of Urban River Spaces.
Most of us take clean water for granted as it comes rushing out of a tap—we assume it to be a basic amenity when it is not always the case. Wong Hiew Peng detailed an initiative by Habitat For Humanity Bangladesh that supplies clean water and related facilities for drinking and washing to alleviate standards of hygiene and sanitation to communities in need. Nipun photographed and wrote about a nomadic community’s ingenious way to harvest water amidst one of the biggest salt deserts in the world.
In nature, water flows down due to gravity. Leveraging this can help in the filtration and management of rainwater and stormwater naturally without too much manmade interference, using instead bioswales, bio-ponds, bio-wells, etc. Jin Wellbeing County in Thailand and Bintaro Jaya West District Master Plan in Indonesia are two such projects that have done so, not only to the benefit of the interrelated biodiversity and ecosystems, but also to the well-being of the people who come in touch with the naturally therapeutic characteristics of water.
Water in its raw element is a force to be reckoned with, as experienced many a time with typhoons, floods and other natural climatic events. Whether we float, sink or swim in the near future depends largely on what we choose to do now.
Table of Contents
4Q 2023: YEAR-END ISSUE | WATER
3Q 2023: GREEN AWARDS | CROSS-GENERATIONAL ARCHITECTURE
2Q 2023: OLD IS GOLD
1Q 2023: MOBILITY & TRANSPORT