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Monday, May 19, 2014

Buffer Landscapes 2060’

IAnD Exclusive 

Design Impact Special

By Team IAnD
Photography: Courtesy riba.org

Buffer Landscapes 2060 by Joe Paxton.
Reconsidering resilient landscapes of hydrology and energy

Joe Paxton is the latest change-enthusiast, who would like to investigate some of the measures taken to mitigate the effects of climate change…

Responding to global warming, appalling levels of air pollution, dangerous levels of smog, threat of floods, droughts, melting glaciers and rising temperatures etc. - all pertinent issues that plague the common man world over, Joe, a student of Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London proposes to travel along a specific international route to augment the existing environmental and architectural findings of living with the effects of climate change.

Buffer Landscapes 2060 by Joe Paxton.
Artificial  glacier grafting Ladakh, India

Winning the 2014 RIBA £6,000 Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship against a host of ‘high-standard’ entries from 36 universities in 12 countries, Joe’s proposal, ‘Buffer Landscapes 2060’ is based on the premise that instead of treating unwarranted changes in climate as problematic (which they anyways are), we need to ascertain whether climate changes can actually become new opportunities for habitation, thus helping our larger cities to prosper.

Buffer Landscapes 2060 by Joe Paxton.
Dutch living with floods  Kamerik Polder,  Netherlands 
Buffer Landscapes 2060 by Joe Paxton.
Flood protection planning,  NYC, USA

In his research proposal, focussing only on evaluating some of the most active, alternative and at-risk methods of living with water and energy as resources, Joe maps a thorough study of 5 places he would like to visit - from Kamerik Polder in the Netherlands (Dutch solution to floods dating back millennia: live with water, don’t fight it) to Sao Paulo, Brazil to explore opportunities in infrastructure and habitation already in place; and Los Angeles to evaluate infrastructural water supply on the most pressured city for water; as well as investigating ‘glacier grafting’ in the Himalayas and large-scale flood planning in New York.


Buffer Landscapes 2060 by Joe Paxton.
Freshwater supply lines,  Los Angeles, USA

Buffer Landscapes 2060 by Joe Paxton.
Sao Paulo reservoirs,  Brazil

Although historically, altering the landscape with large bodies of water has displaced societies, can rivers, lakes and glaciers be augmented on a larger scale to enable our cities to continue benefiting from freshwater and energy supplies, as well as be free from floods and droughts? Artificial rivers, lakes and reservoirs, as well as ice in glaciers, help to buffer severe weather and are used today to provide a more resilient landscape for us to live and work in, but could these techniques be used differently or in other locations? he asks.  And if something like this is effective, what could the scenario look like in say, 2060?

Buffer Landscapes 2060 by Joe Paxton.
Joe Paxton


Using a photographic archive documenting towns and cities in relation to exciting alternative techniques for water storage, energy and water buffers, and downstream flood mitigation around the world, Joe proposes to synthesize text and photographs into a sketchbook exploring new constructions of architecture and systems from the gathered research. He also plans to highlight his findings via an architectural model for each of the five sites.

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