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Inhabiting the Rea - The Culvert as Common Ground

Part 2 Project 2022
Ilze Kasa
Birmingham City University | UK
The river Rea is currently confined to a brick-lined channel far below street level, running behind buildings and roads within the light-industrial area of Highgate, Birmingham. The brick culvert act as a impenetrable division between the river and the city.

Whilst for the past century the river Rea has been severely polluted, flooded, and hidden within its brick walls, it now needs to be maintained and cared for. The project Inhabiting the Rea reveals and enhances the existing qualities of the river through a series of interventions along its channelled route to form a water management & filtration process through fauna and flora plant life, and a common ground for civic life.

The proposal aims to create a new interface with the public as well as to unlock new ways of experiencing the history of the hidden river and to support its’ ecology. Intimate interventions are sensitively embedded between the walls of the brick culvert and industrial buildings, recalling Carlo Scarpa's work - the play of the new and old and with water being the main attribute that frames the spaces around. The interventions serve the inner world of culvert biodiversity and the culture of the city.

Ilze Kasa


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