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Rebuilding Water Autonomy

This project looks at transforming the micro-watershed in Islamberg, a rural Muslim settlement, through incremental deconstruction and rebuilding of local housing. Around the town, the current use of water is contested. New York City claims much of the available water, and plans to buy much more land to keep its holds secure. Inside the town, water threats are more acute. Poor infrastructure leads to flooded roads, impassable valleys, and long, isolating winters. The story is two-fold: building and ground inherited different logics from material reuse and watershed analysis. At the building scale, existing mobile homes reach the end of their life and salvageable materials are stored at and circulated through a new “material bank” bridge. At the ground scale, the proposed diamond shape ground collects rain water and structures a new gradient of water use from clean to grey. We envision an incremental watershed transformation in Islamberg over the next 20 years or more. By overlaying a new living water infrastructure over the existing religious structure in place, we enable the town to reinforce inhabitants’ mystic relationship with the natural world.