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Water Stories

Cath Stutterheim in collaboration with Julia Werner: Lower pool design studio Programme of Landscape Architecture RMIT University

BACKGROUND “In times of highly complex, cross-linked structures and operations, it is essential that we go beyond a simple linear approach and that we not merely acknowledge the current complexity, the networked correlations within our world, in our thinking, planning and acting, but that we learn to use them to act ‘sustainably’ and therefore sensibly in the evolutionary sense.”* With its broad spectrum of approaches, methodologies, scales and spatial spheres, landscape architecture is most qualified to play a leading role within a canon of disciplines dealing with adaptation to climate change, being able to “inventively use and shape such complexities to secure the future of humankind.”* In the past century, knowledge hasexpended exponentially. This has led to specialization into ever-narrower fields of knowledge. However, this has taken us away from understanding the complexity of landscape as a whole, which has become essential for dealing with climate change. A new understanding of a whole reality is developed by means of exploring the detail of existence.

DESIGN APPROACH Therefore taking the approach: “as in the small so in the large”, in this studio we will investigate strips of Melbourne’s catchment in detail to understand the elements of its hydrology operating at various scales to identify its various narratives. Coming to grips with this the studio focuses on idea-finding, which will involve searching for all kind of local knowledge, carefully observing and recording ‘water realities’, asking questions of others, being in dialogue with both locals and experts, as well as carefully investigating and exploring in an experimental way by design. Stories and ideas are both attempts to untangle and attempts to find solutions; therefore searching for water stories and ideas are the key aspects of this design studio, which is based on the interdisciplinary, contemporary design approach Creating Knowledge**, developed at Studio Urbane Landschaften, Germany.

Studio Poster

Studio Poster