Is Water Thine Enemy?

In studying some basic construction methods, water is the biggest enemy. There are layers upon layers of flashing and waterproofing that go into construction, but is this really necessary? Could a more sustainable approach have no flashing or waterproofing with membranes?

As I was on the bus going through downtown, I was reflecting on the same composition of all the buildings  Roughly, it is some type of stone and glass. Glass and stone. Concrete is included in the stone category. Do we, as a civilized and progressive society really not have anything better or with more variety?

My thoughts then lead me to connect these two, could we have a building that incorporates waterproofing and simultaneously provide a facade to a building that is different than stone and glass? And can we have a symbiotic relationship between the two?  In my studies, I stumbled upon a design that seems to incorporate many ideas into one facade. Although the concept does not address flashing, it does incorporate some other issues of concern.

The concept pictured is a vertical system designed to harvest rainwater via natural processes. It also provides a facade that is unique to most other buildings as well. The concept provides a symbiotic relationship between human and nature. Probably still more beneficial toward humans since nature does not need human degradation, but this is a great step toward a more sustainable society. It does not treat water as an enemy to buildings. Instead, it relies on the presence and addition of water into the building. Water should not be treated like a rodent that enters a building–something that most people try to get rid of right away. On the contrary, water is a resource that should be incorporated into daily life not only by drinking it, but also in construction and architectural practices.

water wall


One comment

  1. I agree that all too often buildings are designed to keep out most if not all of the natural elements surrounding them when it would be so much better for the buildings and the world outside of them if they could integrate these elements into the interior systems that are already needed. Going one step further than the blog above, even though the façade above is interesting and unique, I feel like rather than harvesting elements such as water for visual purposes, it could be harvested in a more productive way like being used as gray-water, to flush toilets and save on water consumption. This goes for all natural systems in the parameter as well. We as a society are so determined to create a climate so isolated from the outside that we wrack up our own energy bills to power air conditioners and lighting in the middle of the day when all we would have to do is design buildings to integrate outside elements such as light, air, water, sun, ect. to help replace some of the energy that is going towards mechanical systems. I am not saying we should completely abandon mechanical systems, they can be truly beneficial in a pinch, but why should we rely on them? Especially in a society that is constantly complaining about energy consumption and greenhouse gasses.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: