The Ahrtal Studio. Voices from a Transforming River
Students of Design Studio 1 are confronted with a challenging exercise of design by research, analytical data interpretation, empathy and environmental awareness.
Dealing with the flooding events that occurred in July 2021 at the Ahr basin in Germany, they explore unexpected ways of approaching the flash flooding that hit the valley, first through an exploration of media communications and all its biases. Then being aware of the politics of the aftermath and the emotional links stressed by a cyclical natural event which might be worsened by a concatenation of unfortunate circumstances, and the result of soil management in the surroundings.
The studio will give the opportunity to test how architecture skills, tools and vocabulary can be put in service to read and understand environmental dynamics and their unexpected consequences. By mapping the aftermath territory and the social infrastructure that is still struggling to recover from the flooding events, the students will build a different narrative of recovery: Flooding stories, solidarity links, soil community, historical vineyard activities, and the politics of the aftermath, all helping to shape what could be an entropic-conscious design response that brings care into the notion of resilience.
1. The voices in the media.
2. Economy of wine and soil communities.
3. The flow of the wellness economy.
4. Empathetic resilience. From affective ecologies to technoscientific imaginaries
5. Mapping new imaginaries.
Journalistic and bibliographic research and discussions, Site Visit, Technical skills and Design by Research Workshops.
Diogo Gomes Costa, Aisha Shah Jilani, Emine Ayse Karaarslan, Selin Sarikaya, Mohammad Ebrahim Tajik, Maria Vavoule
Ecotone refers to a region of transition between biological communities. The goal of “Ecotoning Ahr” was to create an imperceptible connection between the river side and the vineyards in the hills, with the urbanistic areas and the valley. Putting special attention to the preservation of biodiversity they outlined strategies for the provision of food, soil regeneration, cultural services, and interspecies cohabitation.
Free the River
Vanessa Peresi, Maryam Rasheed, Mahdi Panjehpour, Melsida Babayan, Mohammed Zanboa, Siranuysh Martirosyan
Through 200 years of historical spatial analysis of the riverbed, this group traced the evolution of the progressive narrowing of the river space due to the increasing urbanisation and how recurrent flooding revealed that river is a living entity that simply needs its space to flow and flood freely. This was the starting point to define the area of intervention, relocation and a “rewilding” of riparian corridors with temporary public programs next to the river that allow flooding.
Ivan Dmitrievich Badiarov, Michel Da Silva Ferreira, Malan Ilangarathna, Kasra Karami
Resisting the impulse to provide immediate solutions, this group proposes a pause to think twice about what is needed after the “first aid” comes to its end. Instead of proposing a plan, they structured a research project to grasp the complexity of the valley and the dynamics of the river. The findings of the “Second Aid” group informed the design decisions of the rest of the groups, thus favouring collaboration rather than competition.
Shui Mei Chan, Lun Lam Kwok
Considering that flooding will come again this group built a strategy of reagrupacion of commercial activities and housing. Relocation and elevation were proposed as main strategies, while new palafitte-like typologies intend to allow flooding to pass below. Their proposal is complemented by a green belt that acts as a natural buffer while used as a linear park.