Drylands Design

Drylands Design

by Levent Ozler

Drylands Design, an exhibition to be held at the Architecture + Design Museum > Los Angeles (A+D Museum), will feature works by architects, landscape architects, engineers, and urban designers responding to the challenges of water scarcity in the face of climate change. With a focus on the US West, the exhibition will present a portfolio of adaptive strategies large and small, rural and urban, high tech and low-carbon. Since no single solution will meet the complex needs of the US West, the exhibition will explore a range of approaches for how buildings and parks, houses and streets, industry and agriculture, cities and neighborhoods might be adapted to face a drought-prone future. Drylands Design recognizes water scarcity as an issue of global concern, and challenges the industrialized world to take a leadership position with water-conserving, low-carbon design innovation for its own backyard.

At the heart of the exhibition are winning visions by Chau Nguyen, Rebecca Lederer, Geeti Silwal, Tom Kosbau, Meghan Storm, Gini Lee, Robert Lamb, AIA, Laurel McSherry and Ye Hua. The winning visions were chosen from hundreds of submissions to the William Turnbull International Drylands Design Competition, hosted by the California Architectural Foundation, AIA California Council, and Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury University.

Through compelling and accessible drawings, models, graphics, and film clips, the exhibition will frame the challenges facing 30 million people in the US West, and how those challenges are shared throughout the arid regions of the world. Furthermore, the exhibition and companion public programs will introduce a wide swatch of the public to the possibilities for envisioning a new, adaptive West through design possibilities both practical and poetic. The exhibition speculates on how solutions for the US West might be adapted to meet the urgent needs of drylands cultures worldwide.

A companion conference, Drylands Design Conference: Retrofitting the West: Adaptation by Design, will re-examine the built environment of the arid and semi-arid west as a vast field of opportunities for design innovation at a range of scales, from building systems to infrastructure and landscape spaces. The conference will present and debate a portfolio of design strategies generated in response to the challenges set forth in ALI's Drylands Design Initiative: Uncoupling the Water-Energy Nexus; Anticipating Climate Impacts; Maximizing Local Water Resources; and Creating Social Equity.

With a focus on the design of adaptation, this conference brings together multiple generations of designers, scientists, and policy makers to explore design leadership opportunities presented by a time of change.