SEASONAL ISLES A DROUGHT & FLOOD RESILIENT FUTURE FOR BERAT
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SEASONAL ISLES A DROUGHT & FLOOD RESILIENT FUTURE FOR BERAT, ALBANIA
* This document is a concise graphical overview. More information and detailed project documentation on request.
FROM FASHION TO GUIDING PRINCIPLE TO COPE WITH AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE
This picture shows a tree during a storm. He can withstand the storm by bending. Afterwards he stretches back to his original straight position. This illustrates the essence of resiliency: how a system copes & recovers when experiencing conditions beyond its initial design criteria.
ADDING TO THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT Due to the abundance of large scale developments, St. Petersburg is being increasingly deprived of its public and green spaces, causing an uproar from the cityâ€™s residents. The plan for Jaanila Country breaks with this tradition of individual developments.
PLANDRAWING SEASONAL ISLES
SEASONAL VARIABILITY DRY SEASON
The seasonal variability in discharge of the Osum river is large: during summer the riverâ€™s baseflow barely sustains a small stream and the riverbed is filled with sandbanks covered by low quality vegetation and deposited litter.
SEASONAL VARIABILITY FLOOD SEASON
But in spring the steep river basin of the Osum can cause extremely high discharge levels. Thus, coping with such extremes requires a design that can accommodate periods of drought as well as abundance of water.
ANNUALLY CHANGING MORPHOLOGY
Due to the seasonal difference in the river discharge, the islandsâ€™ morphology is continually changing. While these dynamics might be regarded as a characteristic feature of the Berat river, they also limit or even prevent actual use of the islands.
GUIDING THE RIVER
IN EVERY SEASON
Therefore, we should guide the water stream of the Osum River in such a way, that it adds spatial quality to Berat in every season. Both with high and low water.
SUMMER AND AUTUMN
In summer and autumn large flowering islands emerge by creating a concentrated river.
WINTER AND SPRING
In winter and spring, when the water level is higher, a landscape of wetlands arises.
The river almost covers the whole riverbed, only leaving the highest islands untouched.
OPERATIONAL RESILIENCE BUILDING BY NATURE It is possible to create a better ‘guidance’ of the river by combining small interventions with the potential building capacity of the river: a controlled erosion and deposition of river sediment to create sandbanks and channels. Thus, by carefully introducing structures in the riverbed, we can use the river flow to create ‘islands’. That’s called: ‘Building with Nature’.
GIVE BERAT A RIVER
Manipulating the river flow patterns by a â€˜building with natureâ€™-approach provides the tools to develop 4 design strategies. By guiding the river with a first system of low curbs, we ensure a minimal, steady streamflow during dry periods, and give Berat a river. Meanwhile these curbs create the contours of a first terrace level in the river.
DEVELOP BERAT ISLANDS
A second system of higher curbs creates the perimeter of a second terrace level. It protects the crests of the existing sandbanks, and secures a set of stable islands when the water level is high.
USE THE SEASONS
TO SHAPE THE LAND
By carefully positioning the structures in the riverbed, we are able to let islands shrink and grow, reaching a minimal footprint during winter and early spring when water levels are high, and a maximal footprint during summer when the water level is low.
EARLY WARNING BRIDGE
THE ISLES CAN TALK
Apart from using this fluctuations of the river, we also have to prepare for high water and extreme peak water flows. As the river becomes part of the city, it is essential to develop an early warning system for Berat, and manifest this warning in the city. A bridge, used to connect the riverbanks to the islands, opens when high water and flash floods are coming. As such, the bridge prevents the accessibility to the islands. Opening the bridge could become a symbolic act, and function as a striking landmark for the city of Berat.
THE ISLES CAN TALK: EARLY WARNING
LOW WATER ISLES SUMMER AND AUTUMN
During the summer, Berat becomes alive. The city is vibrant and tourism flourishes which means that the riverfront should add to the cityâ€™s scenery. A low curb in the riverbed directs the modest base flow into a single stream predominantly along the urban waterfront side. The curb-quays act as the perimeter of the largest set of islands: the first terrace level that becomes available when the sandbanks dry out during summer. These flower gardens exist only for a few months annually, creating a fabulous seasonal attraction.
LOW TO HIGH WATER ISLES WINTER AND SPRING During winter and spring the discharge levels of the Osum River increase. The lowest curb level (and terrace) is overflown at certain spots, which effectively means that the â€˜summer versionâ€™ of the Osum River is widened. The summer gardens are now gradually submerged and transform into seasonal wetlands. The flowering vegetation is overflown by small streams and ponds, and the reed vegetation is growing. The level of inundation depends on the flow rate of the river, and varies constantly through the season, creating an everyday changing landscape.
HIGH TO PEAK WATER ISLES PERIODS IN WINTER AND SPRING During certain periods in winter and spring, the water level in the Osum River reaches the highest stages. While the first terrace level, including the curbs that mark the perimeters, are overflown by water, a small set of islands remains, protected by the second curb system. This last set of plateaus is no longer accessible for pedestrians, providing a last resort for animals and birds within a now formidable river that almost covers the complete cross section.
LOW WATER ISLES
LOW TO HIGH WATER ISLES
HIGH TO PEAK WATER ISLES
NATURAL DEVELOPMENT AS A BACKGROUND FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE
USING NATURAL RESILIENCE TO CREATE CULTURAL BENEFIT
ENGINEERING AN INTEGRATED SYSTEM
COLOFON FELIXX Landscape Architects & Planners Michiel Van Driessche, Deborah Lambert, Marnix Vink, Willemijn van Manen, Carlijn Klomp, Fabrice Wack, Laura Spenkelink
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education William Veerbeek
POLIS UNIVERSITY International School of Architecture and Urban Development Policies Antonino Di Raimo, Ledian Bregasi, Sotir DHamo
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS & PLANNERS Felixx is a Rotterdam based office for proactive landscape architecture, established to advice on the new environmental challenges. The office operates within the fields of environmental design and spatial studies. Landscapes emerged from the transformation of nature areas into human living environments. As integrated spatial systems, they connect and organize all aspects to enable human life. Constantly evolving, adapting to the ever changing contemporary life forms. Actually, we design the space where society is touching ground. Landscape architecture is both a spatial and societal instrument. Therefore Felixx enjoys being a platform to identify new spatial challenges, by exploring landscape architecture as a pragmatic utopian practice. Engineering landscapes as smart spatial systems, while envisioning them as the paradisiacal environments we want to live in. By hitting this promising overlap between pragmatism and idealism, we want to improve the world we are living in and realize happy environments. Looking for opportunities to do so is Felixxâ€™s everyday quest.
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