001. the city

  • Exploration of existing dense urban cities along a major waterway’s edge
    – population
    – economy of the water: ports of trade/delivery/shipment
    – local or surround ecology/ecosystems
  • Researching cities that are already adapting to or are threatened by rising water levels
    – Venice, Italy
    – New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Choosing a city to analyze for adaptation

Much of my phase 001 research to date has been exploring and collecting information on cities throughout the world as possible site locations for my eventual thesis intervention. Much of these explorations consist of case studies of model cities that are currently implementing adaptation strategies, sinking cities that have presently and historically been dealing with sea water related sinking or flooding and experimental cities that are candidates for my own personal intervention strategy.

model cities:
Holland, The Netherlands
Copenhagen, Denmark

sinking cities:
Venice, Italy
New Orleans, Louisiana

experimental cities:
London, England
Mumbai, India (Bombay)
New York, New York
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California

While the research information and case studies are abundant on each of these cities, I am still struggling with making a decision on which city I should purse to continue my thesis research. In an attempt to aid with this decision, I have considered entering one of these two (or possibly both) competitions relating to my thesis topic:




                                ti{d}e {habit}ats + LG pavillion for sea-level rise [exterior]

The Branded Container was a week long design exercise in my AR 901 studio exploring Social Architecture. The object of the exercise was to chose a social issue and team up with a leading corporation to create a “container” to educate a population of our choice on the social issue (also of our choice) in a compelling and creative manner.

To keep the focus on my Thesis, I decided to chose the socio-economical effects of climate-induced sea level rise on coastal communities for the topic of my branded container. The ti{d}e {habit}ats project is designed to educate coastal city dwellers on the risks associated with sea-level rise, and to a larger degree, climate change. Working with LG Electronics, a company that thrives on inovation to provide digitally immersive, floating pavillions designed to not only educate visitors on the socio-economic effects of sea-level rise in their community but to also bring them onto the water to further enhance their educational experience.

                                ti{d}e {habit}ats + LG pavillion for sea-level rise [interior]

“By now, everyone is aware of climate change and the effects of global warming, however many people have a hard time grasping just how profound the effects of climate change can be on a more intimate scale that they can relate to. In an effort to energize the commitment to solutions,The ti{d}e {habit}ats Project is dedicated to educating the coastal communities of the United States about the serious threats of rising sea levels through the use of immersive art and media. While the economic and physical damages are the most publicized, there are severe social impacts as well, that have been shawdowed by what has been deemed as “larger” issues. The ti{d}e {habit}ats Project believes that gearing major issues such as sea level rise in a more relatable manner is the solution to generating commitment and action. Some of the social issues discussed include: population displacement, water resources and human health addressing subjects that include food, air quality, disease, hazardous waste.” -Excerpt from final booklet, Brittany Teeter

See attached booklet:  the branded container

Over the course of the next ten+ weeks, I will be researching future sea level rise around the world. This research will eventually lead to a design response. The method in which I will follow to lead me to this response will consist of three-phases of analysis, they are as follows:

  1. the city
    • Exploration of existing dense urban cities along a major waterway’s edge
      – population
      – economy of the water: ports of trade/delivery/shipment
      – local or surround ecology/ecosystems
    • Researching cities that are already adapting to or are threatened by rising water levels
      – Venice, Italy
      – New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Choosing a city to analyze for adaptation
  2. the water
    • Climate change over time
    • Approximate future sea level rise {date/year}
    • Analysis of lost land on horizontal axis
  3. transition
    Adaptation/Response strategies include or combine any of the following:

    • hard infrastructure- Levees, Bearing walls
    • soft infrastructure- Marshes, Wetlands, floating piers
    • evacuation/displacement- abandoning and re-colonizing elsewhere

                          New Orleans, Louisiana {http://world-according-to-me.blogspot.com/}

The urban city is a symbol of both permanence and proliferation. Our current societal values are showcased through the importance that we have placed on the horizontal axis– the street scape. While the city represents the activity of people, it is the street scape where people thrive. As world-wide sea levels rise over the next century, the horizontal axis will be challenged. Adaptation of societal values and the physical environment is necessary to sustain the urban [habit]at and has the capacity to revitalize the city while introducing the possibility of new, interesting typologies and connections of the urban environment with the rising ti[d]es. It is important that new design sensibilities emerge to allow the existing city to become inundated with ti{d}e {habit}ats or we risk being washed away.

  • Rising Currents and Open Piers http://archidose.blogspot.com/2010/03/rising-currents-and-open-piers.html
  • When the Water Rises http://nymag.com/arts/architecture/features/64304/
  • Architects Address Future Water Levels in New York http://arttattler.com/architecturerisingcurrents.html
  • More Urban Water: Design and Management of Dutch Water Cities Hooimeijer, Fransje, and Wout Toorn Vrijthoff
  • Landscape Infrastructure: Case Studies by SWA Hung, Ying-Yu 
  • Ecological Urbanism Mostafavi, Mohsen, Gareth Doherty, and Harvard University 
  • On the Water: Palisade Bay Nordenson, Guy, Catherine Seavitt, and Adam Yarinsky
  • Water Centric Sustainable Communities: Planning, Retrofitting and Building the Next Urban Environment Novotny, Vladimir, Jack Ahern, and Paul Brown
  • Landscapes in Landscapes Oudolf, Piet, and Noel Kingsbury
  • Sustainable Infrastructure: The Guide to Green Engineering and Design Sarte, S. Bry
  • Design for Flooding: Architecture, Landscape, and Urban Design for Resilience to Climate Change Watson, Donald, and Michele Adams
  • Water and the City: Risk, Resilience and Planning for a Sustainable Future White, Iain
  • The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet Cullen, Heidi
  • After the City Lerup, Lars
  • Groundswell Reed, Peter
  • Recovering Landscape: Essays in Contemporary Landscape Theory Corner, James
  • Envisioning Information Tufte, Edward


I am starting to compile a database of design competitions and other efforts to address sea level rise in areas across the globe:

MoMa Rising Currents:


HighWater Line: art installation


Sea Level Rise competitions:


Sydney, Australia:

San Francisco, CA:

left: Manhattan 2011  right: Manhattan 2106 {http://architecture.myninjaplease.com}

Poetic Pragmatics Conceptual driver: forces that influence, steer or regulate the project

  • existing site: orientation, character
  • surrounding elements: existing buildings, trajectories, city at large
  • natural conditions
  • determine gestural form
  • re-interpreting the existing standards of the project program

“Versioning can be seen as an attitude rather than an ideology. It allows architects to think or practice across multiple disciplines, freely borrowing tactics from film, food, finance, fashion, economics and politics for use in design, or reversing the model and using architectural theory to participate in other problem-solving fields. Versioning is important to architects because it attempts to remove architecture from a stylistically driven cycle of consumption.”

SHoP “Versioning” 2002, Theories and Manifestoes of Contemporary Architecture, Charles Jencks, Karl Kropf


Poetic Pragmatics Functionality of the program that is rooted in the conceptual foundation

  • adjacencies of like program elements
  • circulation throughout

  • point of view of the user, visitor, passerby, neighbors
  • refinement of the gestural, conceptual forms: Six Determinants of Architectural Form
  1. environment of the building, relationship to other buildings and site
  2. form in the functional aspect
  3. region, climate, landscape, natural lighting conditions
  4. materiality
  5. psychological demands of the space
  6. spirit of the times

Paul Rudolph “The Six Determinants of Architectural Form” 1956, Theories and Manifestoes of Contemporary Architecture, Charles Jencks, Karl Kropf

Addendum: October 25, 2011

BEING SUCCINCT: Poetic Pragmatics is the hybridization of conceptual, experiential elements that make a space influential on the human condition while providing pragmatic relationships that generate longevity and the ability to maintain relevance.

IN SIX WORDS: Transformation of poetics into pragmatic relationships.