Week 9 Blog (make-up)
Water plays an essential role in various facets of the built environment from enhancing the natural surrounding, to dynamic site interaction, and even as a material itself. Water is a key ingredient in some architectural processes and many architectural materials. Concrete would be impossible to produce without water, cutting glass and stone would be impossible without water, and it even has a considerable impact on the utilization of many wood products. In these cases, water is more of an implicit material since it’s being used as an ingredient and not as a standalone material. We see water used as a material on its own in certain aspects of landscape design, but how can it be used in other applications?
The most important consideration is that water is a fluid material, meaning molecules can freely flow between one another due to very weak chemical bonds. Immediately this eliminates nearly any possibility of water as a structural material, with the exception of extreme environments. Solid water has been used to construct occupiable space in the state of ice, though this requires very specific environmental factors and ice is quite susceptible to damage.
When considering these factors, perhaps it is best to embrace the nature of the material and observe its characteristics. Instead of trying to use water as a literal building material, it can be used implicitly to enhance many other materials. Water interacts wonderfully with light – an intangible building material, it moves in a way that no solid material can move, and provides a beautiful interactive dynamic. Water is often used jointly with glass and stone to create kinetic surfaces with the assistance of gravity. Water flowing over glass can enhance the surface quality while maintaining translucent properties.