Lila Jiang Chen
Nomination, H.I. Feldman Prize
Rather than creating yet another architectural symbol to an arbitrary property of water, the project focuses on the most important issue about water- its scarcity. The Lyon Water Center is the world's foremost research and convention center in which scholars, industry leaders, and the public at large come together to discuss water-related issues. Spread across the site are exhibition pavilions encrusted into the landscape, explaining the challenges and latest efforts to mitigate them. Visitors meander through this sloping park site, in between the exhibitions and the water-collecting canopy.
Culminating at the lowest point is the pavilion that delivers visitors up into the Cloud Catcher. This floating structure harvests fresh water from air humidity by using the natural temperature differential of increasing heights. Its changing altitude reflects the weather conditions suitable for water harvesting. This mobile structure could be employed around the world to target scarcity crises in our future cities.
Architectural Design: Higher Ground
The project arises from the desire to maintain the character of the site by keeping the balance of building volume to outdoors green space unchanged. The design approach is therefore one that merges the new addition into the landscape, generating a playful outdoors space and an underground pocket for workshop classes. The location of the existing trees was used as attractor points in the generation of the undulating landscape, with some of the trees on their original location perforating through the surface. A series of parametric openings creates an ethereal space with natural light, and also provides direct entry points into the underground spaces through a gradually ramping surface. The set of ramps and openings form part of a circulation network that allow the users to seamlessly weave in and out of the landscape and in contact with the river.