Water at the centre of new architecture projects
14 October 2020
This year again students from the School of Architecture, under the supervision of Dr Marga Munar Bauza, constructed their final project around the topic of freshwater in the Elan Valley.
For the second year in a row, Dr Marga Munar Bauza challenged her students to create innovative projects revolving around freshwater and its social, cultural and environmental value.
Water was approached as a tool for flow, connection and communication. The projects gave a detailed overview of social and geological water issues and considered important challenges such as flooding and water quality in the Elan Valley. Students also acknowledged global and local concerns surrounding the provision of water, including the construction of dams in the Elan Valley in the 19th century to supply water for the city of Birmingham.
Dr Marga Munar Bauza says: 'Water is a great starting place for a project as you can engage with it from many different perspectives and it is real and complex. You know where you start, but you do not know where the research and design will take you.'
Some of the projects also considered the benefits of water for life quality and the water footprint embedded in daily activities. Cristina Arranz, one of this year's students, says: ‘I focused my research on the water footprint, and one of the things that surprised me a lot is the amount of water used for everything in our daily life: food, clothes, cleaning...’
Students received the help of PhD students from the Institute’s early-career group, Haydee Martinez Zavala, PhD student at the School of Engineering, and Maria Magdalena Warter, PhD student at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, to get a better understanding of water issues.
Maria Magdalena Warter says: ‘It was interesting to see the different approaches the students took to incorporate water and the landscape into their designs. They thought about aspects of water that I rarely think about in my work. I was happy to help and impressed by how the projects evolved from beginning to end.’
Students were also given access to the Institute’s Massive Open Online Course on the Challenge of Global Water Security.
Clementine de Geoffroy says: ‘The online classes allowed me to be more aware of the different water issues around the world. From the climate impact on civilisation to the water footprint of the different industries. It was a good opportunity to open our minds to our world issues.’
These projects demonstrate that water issues can be approached from a range of perspectives and call for knowledge and expertise from various disciplines.