The Watershed Architecture of the Mississippi River Basin

WashU affiliated authors: Derek Hoeferlin (Dept. of Architecture)

Abstract: Designers have a three-part responsibility owed to their object of study: to appreciate, to speculate, and to collaborate. This is particularly true for the professional engagement with spaces on the scale of river basins which impact and prioritize certain design decisions on a whole different level. Adequate responses to the ongoing transformations brought forward by large-scale anthropogenic stressors across entire river systems cannot continue to be dominated with hardline and static interventions. Rather, there is a need for alternative outsets, one that begins to design with adaptive and dynamic negotiations. By looking at the example of the Mississippi River Basin, this essay proposes a new integrated water-based design methodology titled “Way Beyond Bigness: The Need for a Watershed Architecture,” an interdisciplinary strategy to rethink the management of river systems for a sustainable future.

Citation: Hoeferlin D. The Watershed Architecture of the Mississippi River Basin. The Anthropocene Review. January 2021. doi:10.1177/2053019621989080