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PDF papers
id acadia08_158
authors Hight, Christopher; Natalia Beard; Michael Robinson
year 2008
title Hydrauli_City: Urban Design, Infrastructure, Ecology
source Silicon + Skin: Biological Processes and Computation, [Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) / ISBN 978-0-9789463-4-0] Minneapolis 16-19 October 2008, 158-165
summary The Hydrauli_city project was commissioned by the Harris County Flood Control District, Brays Bayou Partnership and the Rice School of Architecture to research the transformation of one of the 21 main Bayous in Houston. The project seems perfectly aligned with the theme of the issue because it examines the relationship between infrastructure, risk and urban design, and does so by attempting to leverage diverse time scales and scales of intervention into the maintenance of this infrastructure, rethinking the legacy of its top-down 20th century planning logics. Moreover, it raises key questions about new agencies and sites that may be available to architects that seek to engage the political ecologies of the contemporary metropolis. Through research on the hydraulic urbanism of Houston and through three speculative design proposals, Hydrauli_city presents research about transforming Brays Bayou. The project attempts to provide a figure for and foster the new forms of collectives and networks required to transform the urban condition of Houston without resorting to unrealistic top-down planning infrastructures. We located several scales and time-frames of operations, from micro-scaled interventions derived from ongoing maintenance of the bayous to larger scale transformations now possible due to the programs to reduce the risk of flooding in the bayouís watershed. Hydrauli_city maps the confluences of interests and agencies invested in Brays Bayou at this crucial moment in its history, and offers proposals of bold new civic spaces for the Green Century. The project will be disseminated via an interactive website and a series of public presentations to raise awareness and spark conversation. Flood risk management is a hybrid phenomenon, at once the object of scientific knowledge, engineering practice, and political and economic forces, positioning the architect in a prime-position to intervene.
keywords Infrastructure; Mapping; Morphogenesis; System; Urbanism
series ACADIA
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