In this article, I explore conceptual strategies encouraging an ecologically responsive, water-centric approach to architectural design, such that design interventions become nature/culture hybrids connecting urban dwellers to larger hydrological conditions. I consider the notion of horizons as one mechanism for working out a trajectory for sustainable architecture, one that highlights experiential and environmental concerns simultaneously. In a conceptual shift, theorist David Leatherbarrow’s treatment of “three architectural horizons” (the equipmental—the objects of one’s immediate setting; the practical—the enclosure of a building; and the environmental—what lies beyond) are reshuffled: the practical expands to the watershed (the bioregion as common dwelling place) while environmental processes couple with the equipment of buildings, such that architectures deliver net positive watershed impact.
Brook Muller is Professor of Architecture at the University of Oregon. He directs UO’s Portland Architecture Program and the Ecological Design graduate certificate. With Behnisch & Partner Architects of Stuttgart, Germany, he served as co-project leader for the design of the National Institute for Forestry and Nature Research (IBN) in Wageningen, the Netherlands, a European Union pilot project for environmentally friendly buildings. His research focuses on how site-scale works of architecture can support broader scale (urban) ecological processes and the design implications of resilient, decentralized water and wastewater systems. Professor Muller was awarded the Campus Compact Award for Civic Engagement in Sustainability and is author of Ecology and the Architectural Imagination (2014). E-mail: email@example.com