Water seems to be having a moment. The Architectural Review has just launched (apposite word) the first of three parts of a video it has made about water and architecture. This examines the way that architecture can work with water rather than against it, whether in philosophical terms or by buildings adapting to and mitigating flooding. As Phin Harper, the AR’s assistant editor, says in the video, once you think of water as something that you have to work with in order to be sustainable and cope with climate change, the whole perspective changes. River frontages are no longer just prime pieces of real estate for flats for the super-rich but a vital part of the ecology of cities.
A similar message came from a film shown last week as the Landscape Institute’s Jellicoe lecture. Water Blues Green Solutions is an American film that looks at the way that a number of cities are responding to problems of flooding and drought by finding new ways to store water, to protect their watercourses, and to cut usage.
I suppose there is an irony that the avowedly international AR is focussing on London, while the UK’s Landscape Institute is looking across the Atlantic for inspiration. But both have seen the zeitgeist – and it is a wet one.