Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Sisyphus and Entropy; Adaptive Architecture in Flood Prone Nanjing

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posted on 2021-11-23, 09:20 authored by Leurquin, Arnaud

This thesis attempts to rationalize two diverging practices in Architectural discourse, that of Western pedagogy and that of the ‘Other’. A disparity in approach to understanding architecture as a permanent object, can be noted in the dialogue between resilient architecture and temporary structure, this manifests itself in transient spaces and adaptive urban fabrics.  The increased danger of flooding within China; with a particular emphasis on river infrastructure, posits an interesting position for new urban typologies and innovative floating solutions. Positioned on the expansive Yangtze River Delta, Nanjing encompasses a complex narrative of historical reverence and progressive tendencies, that encourage experimental approaches. The process and methodology within, seeks to provide an adaptable and affordable response to the recurring floodings, through in depth concise historical, cultural and philosophical analysis of the social, spiritual and architectural landscape within China as a whole as well as in specificity.  These insights, juxtaposed with traditional western technique intends to produce an intricate and considered response to flood situations, with a particular focus on community generation and maintenance.  Although Nanjing remains the central focus of the research, the concepts and practical results are intended to be abstracted and drawn into all cultures within Asia, primarily those with Buddhist and Taoist social structures. The proliferation of Feng Shui and the Metaphysical throughout the region provide a framework from which to expand. This network of social and cultural similarity allows for cross disciplinary and pan Asian approaches, noting the Japanese Metabolist Movement as a practical indication of socio-cultural influence on architectural theory.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Architecture (Professional)

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


de Sylva, Shenuka