In 2014, American designers Amy Mielke and Caitlin Taylor of Water Pore Partnership won the LafargeHolcim Award Gold for North America for their Poreform project.
With this water absorptive surface and subterranean basin that captures rain runoff and adds over 75,000 megaliters to the water supply capacity of Las Vegas, Amy Mielke and Caitlin Taylor reposition water infrastructure as a civic project. Capable of rapid saturation and slow release, the flood-control pores of this “urban skin” are inlets to a new infrastructure that reframes water as a valuable resource rather than a liability.
As the 5th LafargeHolcim Awards competition is getting closer, AA continues its series of interviews with a selection of prize-winners. Amy Mielke and Caitlin Taylor answered our questions and told us more about the next steps of the Poreform project and the impact of the Award on their work.
AA. Could you describe the project you submitted to the LafargeHolcim Foundation for sustainable construction for which you won an Award? What is the current status of this project?
Amy Mielke & Caitlin Taylor. Poreform is a design proposal to recast flood water and runoff as a local resource instead of a liability. It is an urban surface – an intelligent and flexible system of pores – that absorbs and collects water like a skin for the city. Capable of rapid saturation and slow release, the pores of this urban skin are inlets to a new adaptable infrastructure at its surface.
The project is currently in the prototyping phase, and we are eagerly preparing for large-scale, in situ tests hosted by the Yale University Landscape Lab in the spring and summer of 2017.
AA. What was the impact of this Award on your professional activity as architects?
Amy Mielke & Caitlin Taylor. The LafargeHolcim Award was an incredible vote of confidence for our design ideas. It lent our project crucial leverage and visibility, which has been invaluable as we continue to work towards implementation. It was in many ways the impetus of our continued partnership.
AA. What are you main current projects? Are you still in touch with the LafargeHolcim Foundation’s network and/or other Award-winners? If so, in what context?
Amy Mielke & Caitlin Taylor. Today we are dreaming about the possibilities for a network of communicative water quality stations that would be sprinkled throughout New York City, alerting us if something has failed and providing peace of mind when everything is in order. The project is inspired by a recent water quality crisis in Flint, Michigan and received a 2017 New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA) grant sponsored by the Storefront for Art and Architecture.
We have been in regular contact with LafargeHolcim since the Award, and they are hugely supportive of the continued development of Poreform. They have lent their expertise and insight as we navigate an unusual project delivery path, and will collaborate on the upcoming prototyping experiments.
To know more about the Poreform project and the Water Pore Partnership: http://www.waterporepartnership.com/read-me/
To find out more about the LafargeHolcim Foundation: https://www.lafargeholcim-foundation.org
Final call! You have until March 21st to submit your project for the 5th edition of the International LafargeHolcim Awards. All information and details are available here.