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Blue Architecture

Blue Architecture
Water, Design, and Environmental Futures

A guide to water-focused and climate-resilient architectural and urban design.

Series: Roger Fullington Endowment in Architecture

May 2022
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216 pages | 6 x 9 | 27 color and 7 b&w photos |

Le Corbusier famously said, “A house is a machine for living in.” We now confront the litany of environmental challenges associated with the legacy of the architectural machine: a changing climate, massive species die-off, diminished air and water quality, and resource scarcities. Brook Muller offers an alternative: water-centric urban design that fosters sustainability, equity, and architectural creativity.

Inspired by the vernacular such as the levadas of Madeira Island and both the arid and drenched places of the American West, Muller articulates a “hydro-logical” philosophy in which architects and planners begin by conceptualizing interactions between existing waterways and the spaces they intend to develop. From these interactions—and the new technologies and approaches enabling them—aesthetic, spatial, and experiential opportunities follow. Not content to merely work around sensitive ecology, Muller argues for genuinely climate-adapted urban landscapes in which buildings act as ecological infrastructure that actually improve watersheds while delivering functionality and beauty for diverse communities. Rich in images and practical examples, Blue Architecture will change the way we think about our designed world.

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1. Hydraulic or Hydrologic?
  • 2. Aqueous Mediums, Urban Architectures, Anadromous Beings
  • 3. Liquid-Shaped Space
  • 4. In Concentrate
  • 5. Reconstituting Architectural Horizons
  • 6. Redrawing Waters
  • Epilogue: Reflections in Depths
  • Glossary of Terms for the Water-Conscious Designer
  • Notes
  • References
  • Permissions
  • Index

Brook Muller is the dean of the College of Arts and Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Also a design practitioner, he has worked for Behnisch & Partners Architects in Stuttgart, among others, and has designed projects across the globe. He is the author of Ecology and the Architectural Imagination.