St. Louis-based architect, author, and educator Derek Hoeferlin and Bangkok-based landscape architect, activist, and educator Kotchakorn Voraakhom shared their ongoing climate-adaptive designs, research, and collaborative efforts into water-based design challenges across multiple scales, disciplines, deltas, and watersheds. Each presented their recent work and then facilitated an interactive discussion into what “Watershed Architecture” can aspire to be.
Derek Hoeferlin presented his new book Way Beyond Bigness: The Need for a Watershed Architecture (Applied Research + Design Publishing, 2023). The 596-page book is the first comprehensive analysis of multi-scaled, water-based infrastructural transformations and challenges across the Mekong, Mississippi, and Rhine River Basins. The book proposes a simple, adaptive framework that utilizes a three-part, integrative design-research methodology, structured as: Appreciate + Analyze, Speculate + Synthesize, and Collaborate + Catalyze. To do such, Way Beyond Bigness realigns watersheds and architecture across multiple scales (sites to river basins), disciplines (ecologists to economists), narratives (hyperboles to pragmatics), and venues (academics to professionals), defined as “Watershed Architecture.” Its goal is to reach a diverse body of audiences, including academic, professional, designers, multiple disciplines, and communities. It highlights Hoeferlin’s comprehensive work of over more than a decade, including in depth field research across the Mekong, Mississippi, and Rhine, along with a diverse body of academic and multidisciplinary professional collaborations and contributions, ranging from the speculative to the community based.
Kotchakorn Voraakhom presented overviews of her award-winning landscape architecture and urban design practice Landprocess, her important climate adaptation advocacy efforts across the world including the United Nations, and her role as a designer-in-residence for the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis since 2022. In that role, she co-taught in the Master of Landscape Architecture and Master of Urban Design programs with Derek Hoeferlin and Jonathan Stitelman, exploring issues of climate change, water-based urbanism, and community engaged design. In St. Louis, with the Sam Fox School’s Office of Socially Engaged Practice and Hoeferlin, Kotchakorn directed public convenings with academics, local municipal leaders, designers, youth, and many more to begin to develop a common understanding and platform to discuss climate change-related issues. Kotchakorn will present her initial results of the ongoing collaborative project and its implications for St. Louis, the larger Mississippi watershed, and beyond.
This lecture was a partner program of the 2023 Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Thanks to Perkins&Will for hosting this program.
You can purchase the book from its publisher or your local bookstore:
→ Way Beyond Bigness: The Need for a Watershed Architecture (Applied Research + Design Publishing, 2023).