While Sri Lanka’s ancient hydraulic civilisation is glorified by its people to this day, the country’s development aspirations follow western models in which water is delocalized and distanced from the built environment. The project proposes a new form of housing development within a degraded wetland in Colombo’s south, the Attidiya bird sanctuary. As it controls storm waters during the monsoon season, the wetland, in the urban context of Colombo, takes up an infrastructural role. The project proposes to heal this damaged infrastructure through its appropriation by people. Architecture, infrastructure and landscape merge as water returns to a cornerstone of Sri Lankan daily life.

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A narrative of scarcity

The floridian sinkhole condition

Hydrophilia- Arduino prototype

Crevices and holes of various forms and sizes are continuously replenished through a pulsating seasonal rhythm of water flow. Within this unstable state both abundance and scarcity are continuously reaffirmed. Visitors interact with the water and connect to it through its various states of being. The site is never the same. Taps and valves encourage visitors to alter water’s channeling course yet an elaborate and enigmatic system of veins and arteries ensures an uncertain outcome. By allowing a mutual communication to occur this model imagines a site that promotes a deep connection between the public and the element water.

Hydrophilia- Component description

The Attidiya Sanctuary

Component based alternative water infrastructure

Identification of three distinct ecological zones within the Attidiya wetland

The habitation unit as binding agent; connecting aquatic and terrestrial

Water flows through an aerated lagoon and enters an open courtyard. It serves the inhabitants before cascading through a system of reed beds into the landscape.

Ecological zones translated into public spaces

Decreasing water levels expose the seasonal promenade to the general public during dry season. The system of pathways and ponds submerges in Colombo’s storm water during the wet season, enabling a period of cleansing and rejuvenation.

Rethinking the boundries of property through architecture of water and space

Water is narrated from public place to intimate space. By promoting an alternative, defragmented, water cycle the habitation unit aims to create a connection between the people and the land they inhabit.