Alumnus’ project on exhibit at AIA national headquarters

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The project, “Water Stelae: rehydrating the Omo River valley”, by alumnus Luke Laverty (BSAS 2009), in collaboration with Derrick Whitmire and Trevor Jordan, was selected to be displayed at the American Institute of Architects' Center for Emerging Professionals annual exhibition at the AIA headquarters in Washington, DC, during the AIA Grassroots 2013 Leadership and Legislative Conference.

The project is a proposal for a series of water purification centers and resettlement housing that accepts the inevitability of these dams and attempts to help those affected. Through a collection, filtration, and distribution system, the Water Stelae connect people, their crops, and other tribes with a continuous source of clean water, bridging the vast height from plateau to river. As historical stelae mark the location of a sacred space below, these fabric-canopied structures mark the entrance to a space of secure water and life. Native fabric collects condensation and shades the sun and dust; the earth excavated filters the collected water along its journey; a composting terra preta system fertilizes the soil, and a locally governed acequia system distributes the clean water to the surrounding area in these new migrant community centers. Like the southern Nyangatom tribe and northern rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the Water Stelae dig deep into the earth to extract water. The Water Stelae continue the indigenous peoples’ ways of life and ensure ever-lasting access to clean water.

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