Bobbing grassy floats come together with a colorful pier to create an unforgettable landscape welcoming locals and tourists alike into an exciting interaction with the Douro River. People and pavilions splashing, bumping, spinning, and diving activate the edge through a series of ever changing relationships. The proposal arrays a series of volumetric pavilions which contain restrooms, saunas, pools, restaurants, shops, and event space across the river’s edge. The field creates a dynamic landscape full of interesting in-betweens and changing vantage points. Floating pavilions differ in both scale and range of movement – some are static, some are loosely anchored to allow for slight drift with current, and some can float to different locations allowing for reconfiguration depending on the event. The scale shifts allow for many types of interactions, from a couple in a private floating tub to a cluster filled with concert-goers. Kiosks can be lined up as shops along the pier or can drift into the water to create swim up bars. Besides changing position, the floats will change their forms depending on relation to each other. The wooden structures are supported by inflatable airbags allowing for subtle deformations as they nestle together. The playfulness of the forms nestling encourages people to move from one to the other and bring them together rather than remaining solitary. The wood slats have spaces between which allow them to act as footholds as bathers climb up to catch sun or dive from the structures to the water below. In some areas there is soil embedded in the wall to allow for vegetation to grow through. The plants create an exciting, strange landscape which shifts perceptions of what is wild and what is man-made. The plants help create a sense of purification and rejuvenation trying to reposition the polluted river into a desirable bathing destination. The floats also contain filters in the submerged portion which work to naturally clean the river water as it fills the pools. Several of the floats are more enclosed and could be used in the winter for dining/drinking and saunas. There are also several floating pods with sand creating small beaches for children to play. The shifting tide allows the forms to reveal different aspects over the course of the day. The pavilions bob along a new pier which connects the exiting fishing area to existing shopping area creating a mix of locals, tourists, and fisherman in an always active mix. The colorful pier is a place people can meet, board cruise boats or kayaks, fish, enter the pools, or enjoy the view from a bike. The pier folds up onto the existing wall to make a billboard out of the surface and structure a bike ramp going from road to water level. Slits in the wall bring light in and offer flickering views of bikes riding inside. The path wall also contains several break points for people to pause and get a view out over pier and floats. The pier dips down in several places to allow the water to come up over it at times of day creating shallow tidal pools. The tidal pools will have a few beached floats and fixed chairs and umbrellas for people to come sit and wade in the water. As cars drive down, they catch glimpses of these playful floats bobbing in the water and pier stretching into the river. A view not often seen and serving as reminder and welcome to the new bathing location. At night the plants come aglow with lights projected from light poles along the pier giving the illusion of colored plants drifting over the waterside. The landscape is never the same with shifting forms, activities, lighting, vegetation and water levels constantly revealing new experiences.
Team: Justin Hattendorf, Zherui Wang, Hayden Minick
Down by the River
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