Water-Shed: Architectural Opportunity in Infrastructure
The current systems of infrastructure that comprise water supply are incapable of recognising value in water's urban place in anything other than in empirical terms. The 'Water-Shed' scheme transforms this utility into a rarely considered design opportunity that reinvigorates the relationship between the borough of Petone and its water supply at Waiwhetu aquifer. With a framework compiled from history, art, landscape and architecture practice, it entails the re-appropriation of the systems and technologies of contemporary water extraction. The outcome is an architecture that recovers meaning within this amenity and re-confirms waters central value to life. Light in conjunction with material manipulation are used directly and incidentally to reveal water's character. The scheme also conceives of nature in constructed terms, opening the possibility for infrastructures like Water-Shed to negotiate non-oppositional relationships between city and environment. The result is the maturation of industrial landscape the reinforcement of the hydrological and civic identities of Petone. No longer is water amenity simply reduced to productive issues of cost, efficiency and reliability. Debate regarding the access and availability of drinking water will be one of the defining issues of the 21st century. Water-Shed contributes to this discussion by asking how we can re-think the buildings and sites that form parts of the city's water distribution network.