Student design teams to develop projects addressing climate change

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

LAWRENCE — This week the University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design & Planning is sponsoring the Water Charrette. A charrette is defined as an intense period of work by a group of designers prior to a deadline, typically involving both a focused and sustained effort.

Some 60 students will participate in the charrette, in which collaborative teams composed of students from the departments of Architecture, Design and Urban Planning will spend 24 hours developing highly water-efficient, prototypical designs to respond to future conditions that could include both drought and flooding. The KU campus was chosen as the site for these projects.

“Climate change has made the appropriate use and conservation of water one of the most important issues of our time,” said Paola Sanguinetti, chair of the Department of Architecture. “Kansas’ recent extreme weather patterns have made all of us acutely aware of the problems involved. That is the reason we chose our campus as a test bed for an exploration of the continuum between water conservation and reuse.”

The public is invited to a series of events related to the charrette, all of which will occur in The Commons in Spooner Hall.  The kickoff is a keynote address by Peter and Hadley Arnold, of the Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury University, Burbank, Calif.

Their talk, titled “What Are the Big Design Opportunities Water Presents as Holocene Hydrology Is Replaced by Anthropocene?,” will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, and will be followed by a reception.

Teams will make presentations of their preliminary designs at 2 p.m. Friday. At 5 p.m., the public is invited to participate in a roundtable discussion on the future of water and climate change. Hadley and Peter Arnold, Ward Lyles, assistant professor of urban planning, and Steve Padget, associate professor of architecture, will moderate.

The design teams will present their final design solutions and receive recognition for their work between 9 a.m. and noon Saturday at The Commons.

“One of the most important aspects of the charrette is to give the students in our three departments the experience of working together in a collaborative fashion,” said Sanguinetti. “No single person or profession has all the answers, but working together we can find solutions to make life on our planet sustainable.”