Design in the terrain of water | Symposium

On April 1 – April 2, 2011, the University of Pennsylvania School of Design will be hosting the symposium — Design in the Terrain of Water — an event structured around a series of dialogues, exhibits, workshops and talks, regarding three main themes: Activism/ Advocacy, Structure/ Infrastructure, and Imaging/ Imagining – in the terrain of water.  The occasion will gather contemporary thinkers from across disciplines and the globe who are “joined in their intentions to re-imagine our relationship with water, challenge current visualizations, and probe projects and design thinking that constitute water, its visible and invisible presences, in fresh ways.” Part of the collective agenda will be to address fundamental questions, such as:  “Is this a time to re-invent our relationship with water? Is it a time to look to the past, present and future and ask if in seeing water somewhere rather than everywhere we have missed opportunities, practices and lessons that could inform and transform the design project?” For more information please visit the event page Design in the Terrain of Water and to register visit HERE.

EXCERPT: “It is water to which people are increasingly turning to find innovative solutions to water scarcity, pollution, aquifer depletion and other problems that are assuming center stage in local and global politics, dynamics, and fears. It is also water that is celebrated and ritualized in ordinary and everyday practices across many cultures. It is surely not a coincidence that the turn to these waters, that resist the figure and the frame, is occurring when design disciplines are beginning to embrace measures such as flexibility, agility, and resilience, measures more closely associated with a watery imagination, while becoming circumspect of aspirations like prediction and control encouraged by a terra firma, aspirations that have proved elusive, perhaps even detrimental. This is after all a time of uncertainty and ambiguity brought on by increasing openness of economies, cultures, and ecologies. What is it to see water as not within, adjoining, serving or threatening settlement, but the ground of settlement? Can we look at projects in history and projects emerging today – cities, infrastructures, buildings, landscapes, artworks – with a cultivated eye for water that rains, soaks, spreads, and blurs?” (ANURADHA MATHUR / DILIP DA CUNHA, Terrain of Water Team)

Participants include: TENG CHYE KHOO, executive director of the Centre for Livable Cities;  ILA BERMAN, architect and founding director of New Orleans URBANBuild; HERBERT DREISEITL a water artist, landscape architect, and interdisciplinary planner; film-maker PETER HUTTON; CHRISTIAN WERTHMANN, Associate Professor and Program Director at the Harvard GSD Landscape Architecture Department; UNESCO consultant, PIETRO LAUREANO; CHARLES WALDHEIM, Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Harvard GSD. Landscape architects ANNE WHISTON SPIRN, ELIZABETH MOSSOP, TILMAN LATZ; biologist and applied ecologist JOHN TODD; TEDDY CRUZ,  KONGJIAN YU and many others.


Image Credits and Further Credits: Terrain of Water Team:
Director _ ANURADHA MATHUR  co-director / organizer _ CATHERINE BONIER
exhibition coordinator / designer _ YADIEL RIVERA DIAZ  symposium coordinator _ DIANE PRINGLE
symposium assistant _ MICHELLE LIN  exhibition assistant _ JESSICA BALL
student exhibition assistants _ LAURA LO + NICOLA MCELROY
Advisors_ Dean Marilyn Jordan Taylor, David Leatherbarrow, Dilip da Cunha, William Whitaker

Design in the Terrain of Water | © 2011 The University of Pennsylvania School of Design |


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