What must be tied?-Research
Water and power have always been tied to urbanization, and in the Great Lakes, these infrastructures are closely linked. Multiple crises have made us increasingly aware of the precarity and dysfunction of our systems, from toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie to aging oil pipelines that threaten the entire Great Lakes. Disinvestment and State mismanagement have devastated Great Lakes communities like Flint and Detroit, in the form of citywide lead poisoning and mass water shutoffs. At the same time, developments in engineering are calling for large-scale decentralization of our infrastructures, and developments in ecological thought are moving us towards an understanding of the complex and intertwined relationships between living beings that play out within our landscapes. In this critical moment, how can architects help to reimagine our infrastructures?
Thus, we, a group of students along with our guide and instructor Emily Kutil, investigated water and power infrastructures in the Great Lakes, one of the most significant bodies of fresh water in the world.
Beginning with in-depth case studies of sites in Buffalo, the studio sought to understand infrastructure’s cultural, ecological, and political entanglements. We explored strategies for representing the worlds that our infrastructures tie together, and the kinships they form—and will imagine alternative infrastructures for these kinships, situated in Buffalo and placed within the broader context of the Great Lakes. We research and propose our ideas in this semester to define "What Must Be Tied".