WATER AND ARCHITECTURE   ⇒   A Proposed Course
to Enhance the Architectural Curriculum

Victor M. Ponce

2019 September 20


Water has become the most important element in human society, where sustainable development must pay attention to complex and diverse water quantity and quality issues. By definition, the profession of architecture has dealt with the design of the built environment. Yet, by tradition, architects have not been trained to grasp the relation between the built environment and the surrounding natural environment, where water issues are often paramount. This is more so in light of the emergence of the new paradigm: the interdisciplinary approach to sustainable design.

Thus, the case is made for enhancing the architecture curriculum by the development of an experimental course entitled "Water and Architecture." This course seeks to fill the gaps in the training of future architects, to enable them to be better prepared for tomorrow's design challenges in sustainable interdisciplinary design.


  • The role of water in society

  • The global cycling of materials

  • The cybernetic hydrologic cycle

  • Precipitation, evaporation, and surface runoff

  • Groundwater utilization and sustainability

  • Urban drainage

  • Salinity issues: endorheic vs exorheic drainages

  • Climate, water and nutrient availability, and its relation to sustainable development

  • Floods, droughts, and ENSO

  • Flood proofing and floodplain management

  • Water harvesting in urban and rural settings

  • Geomorphology applied to urban/regional planning

  • Global climate change

  • Coupling the built and natural environments for sustainability