Stephanie Madison of Habitus Living interviews the author about his book “Aqua House, Architecture that Integrates Water Technically and Aesthetically” Can you please elaborate on what inspired you to write Aqua Houses and the key ideas in the book?
Current concerns about global water usage and the increasing pollution of it’s environments is what inspired me to write Aqua House. The book focuses on the relationship of water and architecture. It re-examines the place that it occupies in architecture in order to determine how current practices in architecture contribute to the pollution of water environments and to what is believed to be an unsustainable usage of it. The book then seeks to investigate how some of these practices in architecture could be modified in the future in order to mitigate the water problem.
The key idea in the book is how can the design of a house integrate the technical and aesthetic functions of water?
I have attempted to answer this by designing a building (Aqua House) that works with both the aesthetic and technical functions of aqua. In addition, the design integrates water and architecture in a way that could contribute to reducing contamination of the water environment. While Aqua House is a small project, focused on the problem of residential architecture it can perhaps help raise awareness of wider water issues. The lessons learned can perhaps be extrapolated to a re-examination of other types of buildings and urban environments, where a wider set of water issues could be examined.
In following the principles outlined in Aqua Houses, how can consumers integrate water-wise solutions into their homes that are both technically efficient and architecturally aesthetically appealing?
The principles outlined in Aqua House is that rain, which is collected, recycled and cleansed, is celebrated and organises the house. An example of how consumers could integrate water-wise solutions into their homes is to locate in the entry hall of their house a reflection pool that stores high quality water. It would celebrate the triumph of harvested water in the way that the sink in the foyer of Villa Savoye does, and invites cleansing of a guest’s journey. Another example is to have a structure that consists of a series of aqua columns. The water columns replace the underground water cistern or solid water tanks used in other the sustainable houses allowing visual appreciation and awareness of quantity of the stored water, while also being used to supply the water needs.
What do you envision consumers wanting in terms of water-wise architectural spaces in the future, please describe? Why do you think consumers will be drawn to these spaces/design elements etc?
I envision consumers wanting water-wise architectural spaces to experience the various states and transformations, its distinctive tastes, sounds and smells. Water’s beauty is in its fluidity, transparency and reflective-ness. For example water has symbolic meanings: to Chinese Feng Shui it represents good chi and in Christianity, it means cleansing. People are naturally drawn towards water for its aesthetic qualities and musicians frequently celebrate it in their work. Schubert’s Water Songs, Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water, Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Water, Lady in the Water, The Wild River, Water Lilies are some examples of music and movies inspired by water. Paintings by artists like Hockney, Dali, Picasso, Monet, Escher, English all depict the beauty of water.
I think consumers will be drawn to the integrated design solutions knowing that each year they are sending 0.0 litres of effluent and 0.0 litres of stormwater to the rivers and oceans, and manage in the process to celebrate it.