New Climates in... Lausanne - Hidden Rivers #4 - Waters Seminar Series


Event details

Date 03.02.2022
Hour 14:3017:30
Speaker Speakers: Sandra Soares Frazao, (Professor, UCLouvain) Tony Arborino, (Chief of the Protection contre les Crues du Rhône - SPCR department)  Qinyi Zhang (Studio Paola Viganò)  Annelies de Nijs (Agence Ter)   Discussants: Sarem Sunderland (Ph.D. ETH, LUS program) Elena Longhin (PostDoc, IUAV) Andrea Aragone (Ph.D. student, IUAV)
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English

The next New Climates in... Lausanne continues the exploration of Hidden Rivers as an initiative linking the Habitat Research Center at EPFL and the Laboratory of Urbanism’s Waters Seminar series. Such an international exchange platform aims to address water environmental issues between scholars and experts, across practice and scientific fields. The next and fourth Waters Seminar will take place on February 3, 2022, from 14:30 to 17:30, online via Zoom. 
We as a human species have always been designing and inhabiting within the hybridity of nature and technology across all water bodies in the world i.e. lakes, rivers, watercourses, and more. The contemporary design profession in urbanism, landscape, and engineering is constantly reconstructing its relationship with water nature through increasingly techno-managerial systems established via innovative technology, often creating more anthropogenic processes on top of what has already been done and controlling water flow through interventions in blue & green infrastructure systems, water hydraulics, water storage, drainage, and irrigation. 
The growing presence of the technological aspect of the design evokes criticisms. As a reaction to the impact of climate change, the notion of Techno Nature has been employed to promote advanced techno-managerial approaches in mitigating water disasters in flooding, drought, and sea-level rise.  However, the technical and managerial rationale has led to highly engineered urban projects paradoxically resulting in further ecological degradation e.g. river erosion from altered embankments accelerating flooding impacts. Furthermore, a river state of the Anthropocene whereby altered water flow has become a priori the catalyst for territorial fragmentation and uneven geographical development.
The Waters Seminar No. 4 explores challenges raised by the techno-managerial approach to water territorial management by looking at large-scale infrastructural projects proposed and managed over time in the European context.  To include water management and water access as it pertains to waterworks in dams, irrigation systems for agrarian purposes, and river hydraulics, all of which have in a sense transformed water nature and its natural flows.  By exploring inter-disciplinary approaches to water infrastructure projects, the debate shall be centered on the integration of landscape, urbanism, and engineering approaches to current challenges faced by climate change and territorial implementation.  To answer the question of how the social, economic, and political issues could also be addressed in water projects to open discourse in Political Ecology.

Through an exchange between issues across social, political, ecological and urban realms, the aim is to reimagine the future of urban rivers, however regenerated, revitalized or otherwise, through the gaze of the multiple actors involved for a more social ecological transition across these territorial rivers.


Waters Seminar No. 4, Program
14:30 Welcome & brief Introduction
14:40,  Sandra Soares Frazao, Professor at UCLouvain
Natural disasters… Less and less natural… But positive human interventions are possible!
15:05, Tony Arborino, Expert in river management Sion-Valais-Swiss
The future of rivers: how to go from INFRASTRUCTURE to STRUCTURE, from TECHNOLOGY to NATURE, from DEATH to LIFE? The example of the 3rd correction of the Rhone.
15:30, Joint discussion with panel, Sarem Sunderland (Ph.D. student ETH, LUS program)
Elena Longhin (PostDoc, IUAV) and Andrea Aragone (Ph.D. student, IUAV)
16:00, Qinyi Zhang, Architect/ Urbanist at Studio Paola Viganò 
Water in the construction of a technonature, a case study in Over De Ring, Antwerpen
16 :25, Annelies de Nijs, Architect/ Urbanist at Atelier Horizon
Creating room for water and energy along the ring road in Antwerp, Belgium
16:50, Joint discussion with panel, Sarem Sunderland (Ph.D. student ETH, LUS program)
Elena Longhin (PostDoc, IUAV) and Andrea Aragone (Ph.D. student, IUAV)

Practical information

  • General public
  • Registration required


  • Sylvie Nguyen (Lab-U, EPFL); Chiara Cavalieri (UCLouvain); Habitat Research Center, EPFL


water architecture urbanism

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