Rising Waters – Shaping Our Streets, Gardens And Urban Valleys
The second edition of the Brussels Urban Landscape Biennale (BULB) focuses on the effects of climate change, and more specifically on the increasingly alarming issue of flooding in urbanised areas. The Biennale consists of an exhibition, a lecture, a symposium, curated walks and Garden Tales. It strives to answer questions such as: How could we drain rainwater in a responsible manner? Could landscape architecture provide a solution to the complex challenges? And what are the limitations of our current approach?

Water makes this 'blue' planet a unique, liveable ecosystem, for man as well as other species. However, it is also one of the greatest and most visible threats: there are water shortages, floods and heavily polluted water. Global warming increases the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall and periods of drought. This requires our cities and landscapes to transform so they are able to cope with these extreme fluctuations in rainfall and temperature. In essence, the task is simple: we must make room for water throughout the city as a whole.

Man has relied too heavily for too long on technical solutions to safeguard the urban environment against flooding, using a complex system of drainage and underground storm drains. But we will have to free up the space needed for a healthy and resilient water system in places where we currently have gardens, streets, parking areas, squares and parks. There is no other space available. The transition to a water-resistant city thus requires a new generation of street, district and city projects, for which vision, examples and forms of collaboration must be developed and tested.

Atelier BULB invited four reputed Brussels landscape designers to spend an entire summer exploring which new urban water projects are needed and possible: Latitude Platform, JNC International, Taktyk and Bureau Bas Smets reflected on how we could prepare the Brussels valleys, districts and streets to cope with the changing climate. Their visions and proposals form the core of this exhibition. Using international reference projects, artworks, graphic material, and documentation from existing policy and projects curated by Architecture Workroom Brussels, they construct a story and agenda for the future. It is not just a glance back at the past; Rising Waters serves as a glimpse of the future and a call to action.

The exhibition follows a logical scale: from small to large. In addition to the proposals by the four landscape artists works by four artists are on display: the video Flooded McDonald’sby the Danish artist trio Superflex, two pieces by Andrea Caretto and Raffaella Spagna, an audiovisual immersion in the valley of Molenbeek by Christian Barani, and an installation by Gauthier Oushoorn.

Type: Exhibition

Year: 2018

Client: Ministerie van Leefmilieu en Levenskwaliteit (Ministry of the Environment and Quality of Life)

Curator: Architecture Workroom Brussels

Partners: BOZAR, Civa Asbl, FBU-BFS 

With contributions from: BOZAR, Leefmilieu Brussel, Bureau Bas Smets, JNC International, Latitude, Taktyk

More info: http://www.bulb.brussels