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The Hydrological Cathedral

Part 2 Project 2023
Giles Davis
Sophie Lewis-Ward
Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture | UK
The Hydrological Cathedral is an architecture of stewardship; laboratory-workshops, a theatre and public walkway, arranged in enfilade along a bridge in the Adaja River as it runs parallel with the western wall of the Spanish city of Ávila.

Ávila, the custodian of the surrounding Amblés Valley, is a reliquary of hydrological knowledge in a landscape facing imminent desertification. Its granite walls, wells, cisterns, cloisters, patios, and canopies responding to climate for centuries. The thesis seeks to preserve and develop this understanding through rescaling and transcription, exploring the scale of the city through a doubling of the Cathedral of Ávila and the scale landscape through a doubling of the city. The Cathedral, seen through a chromatic and acoustic lens, elicits a process of dragging, catching and pulling tectonic fragments through the urban grain to the river beyond.

Seven chapels for environmental research dock above the riverbed, taking their form from a [re]defined and [re]formed hydrological landscape, to offer ecological strategies for measuring, analysing and sustaining Avila’s fragile environments: snow, crops, soil, watercourse and aquifer. Research completed, the chapels recalibrate, provisioning Ávila with seed and soil to cultivate its walled gardens and ruined enclosures, to feed the city and sustain the landscape.

Giles Davis
Sophie Lewis-Ward

Victoria Clare Bernie
Adrian Hawker
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