RE_aquæ[DUCT] is an urban prototype, entered into the WPA 2.0 international design competition on 03/11/09, and was developed in collaboration with Tim Marjot, Graeme Mill and James K. Thorp [fellow MSA students]. The following is an extract from our design intent statement:
"The context for this proposal is the particularly polluted and historic waterway that was integral in the launch of the industrial revolution; the River Mersey. Pollution levels throughout the Mersey were mapped at key tributaries, and the extent of pollutants relative to population and building density investigated. As a result of our findings, the town of Birkenhead has been selected for our infrastructural intervention. This involves replacing existing infrastructure [road network] with a reinterpretation of historic infrastructure [canal network], combined with bio-technological processes [reed bed filtration] in a bid to prevent run-off pollutants reaching the river, and injecting life into an otherwise under-occupied area. We propose to introduce a series of capillaries running alongside the Mersey with the capacity to process polluted water flowing from the Wirral Peninsula; a large scale water run-off purification prototype in which canals are integrated with reed bed technology."
|+ RE_aquæ[DUCT] - competition entry submitted 03/11/09|
"In subtracting from ‘non-place’ and adding to ‘place’ we intend to provide scope for redevelopment, public circulation and potential leisure activity. Through replacing roads with reeds in selected areas of high vacancy within the existing urban fabric, Birkenhead provides a model through which we can gauge the improvement in standard of living in relation to water quality and an increase in biodiversity. RE_aquæ[DUCT] provides a prototype for urban ecological intervention throughout the world."
The competition provided an opportunity to experiment with data gathering strategies, visualisation techniques, and an opportunity to engage in-depth with an urban region suffering from the many issues facing contemporary post-industrial society in the UK. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in securing a place amongst the shortlisted entries, but it proved a valuable exercise in innovative, radical urban masterplanning and prototyping.