(Re)Envisioning architecture and landscape architecture in the fluid terrains of flooding

Karen Paiva Henrique

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ubiquity of flood events challenges designers to rethink the longstanding relationship between cities and their surrounding water bodies, (re)envisioning how the floodplain should be occupied. Contemporary proposals for residential development in the urban coast increasingly accept the inevitability of flooding, devising buildings and landscapes to make room for excess water. Building upon this idea, this article analyzes contemporary residential design for flooding focusing on the question: How are buildings and landscapes (re)defined by their relationship with the recurrent presence of water? The article draws from the systematic analysis of four case studies in the Netherlands, the United States, and the United Kingdom, exploring buildings and landscapes designed to cope with flooding through structures that are raised, buoyant and/or permeable. It uses a novel approach to the integrated analysis of architecture and landscape architecture, applying drawings as a tool for analysis. The result is a holistic understanding of design solutions produced to cope with recurrent flood events. The article elucidates how these emergent typologies engender a new relationship between architecture and landscape architecture, and between floodplain dwellers and their natural environments, through the careful composition of buildings and landscapes in relation to their fluid terrains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139–161
Number of pages21
JournalCloud-Cuckoo-Land: International Journal of Architectural Theory
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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