Copyright 2007-2012
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California College of the Arts
M.Arch Thesis
Volatility Group
Instructor Hugh Hynes
CCA Thesis Award - Honorable Mention

Why do we continue to rely on modes of “strategy” by engineering methods of mitigation to develop critical relationships between urban conditions and riparian infrastructure? What is a tactical approach to urban riparian flood infrastructure?

I hypothesize that reformatting the role of the levee while re-interpreting the way in which the built environment is organized along the levee will transform the relationship between urbanization and floods.

The city of Sacramento, being one of the most flood prone cities in the United States, provides an optimal ground to test the challenges facing water infrastructure design. In response to the urban context of the Old Town waterfront, this thesis design proposal is a navigational guidebook to the transformation of the relationships between the river edge, urban border and the existing architectural foundations. While the process involves temporary inundation, the design accommodates different programs at different water levels through out the year and hosts existing historic programs on flood resistant infrastructures. The riparian area is expanded into a seasonal park in the summer and an aquatic transportation corridor in the winter. Once disassembled, the existing levee infrastructure becomes a new fluid ground that both increases the lateral capacity of the river while bringing new opportunistic programs to the city of Sacramento