Sustainable Mediterranean Construction

Sustainable Mediterranean Construction



Graeme Evans

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Over two thirds of the world’s mega-cities are coastal and delta cities such as New York, Rotterdam and London are all faced with increasing flood risk due to a changing climate leading to more intense rainfall events, sea level rise, soil erosion and storm surge[2]. Of all worldwide disasters, 90% are water related and it is through water that most of the impact of climate change is felt. Northern hemisphere cities and populated coastal areas are now experiencing flooding as the global South continues to do, suggesting that there is scope for international knowledge exchange in this field, including Mediterranean southern European and northern coastal and estuary cities. North-South collaboration is now a feature of European coastal and flood risk projects such as SECOA ( with partners in India, Israel, Italy, Vietnam, Portugal, Belgium, the UK and Sweden [2], whilst Dutch water and land use engineering leads the world in terms of flood adaptation and architectural design. It is no accident therefore that Dutch influence in the UK is evident in inspiring creative water architecture solutions by UK design firms, as outlined below. This is important, since tidal/estuary cities like London and southern coastal cities are also the subject of further urbanisation and population growth through high density development and intensification of land uses, with waterfront development now seen as a solution to housing demand, as well as an attractive investment proposition for commercial and leisure developments. Over 1.4 million people currently live in flood plain in London, and 200,000 new homes planned in the extended Thames Gateway region are in high flood risk zones. Urban design and architectural strategies to create floodresilient urban waterfronts are therefore being promoted to incorporate flood mitigation measures in the design of outdoor areas and new buildings.
This article reviews a selection of these architectural responses to the ‘Defend-Retreat- Attack’ scenarios through land-water/humannature inter-action. This research draws on the recently completed SECOA project for which the author led the UK team, and a new art and designled research project: Hydrocitizenship (, based in the Lea Valley region – the river Lea is London’s ‘second river’ traversing a 26 mile corridor of canals, rivers, and reservoirs. This brownfield area has been the prime regeneration zone planned to accommodate London’s 10+% population growth, to extend the city and create new destinations in a major place-making masterplan originating in the 1980s London Docklands. This has been renewed through the London 2012 Olympics built alongside the Lea River and tributaries, including a new Olympic Park and several waterfront urban neighbourhoods [3].


SMC N.02 2015


001_ COVER

003_VIEW Water and Mediterranean Construction: How to Build a Soft and Clean Future
Dora Francese



009_Water-scapes in Architectural Design Thinking – a Discussion on Water as Conceptual Cultural Sustainable Design Element
Marina Mihaila

014_ Variability of Groundwater Resources in the Cilento Region (Southern Italy)
Vincenzo Allocca, Pantalone De Vita, Ferdinando Manna

020_Rivers to Live by: The Economic, Social, Cultural Benefits of Rivers and the Role of Architecture in Its Enhancement
Fani Vavili, Sonia Gkounta

025_Patagonia. Water and Built Habitat
Liliana Lolich

030_The Khettaras: a Traditional Management System of the Moroccan Drylands
Khalid Rkha Chaham

033_The Water and Architectural Identity in Mediterranean Buildings
Nicolina Mastrangelo, Emanuela Adamo

038_ Leonardo and the Drawnings of Hydraulic Mines
Adriana Rossi, Luis Palmero, Armando Dinaro

044_“River Cities”: Urban Structure and Configurational Analysis
Angela Esposito

048_Analysis of the Architectural/Historic Heritage and Preventive Mitigation Actions Against Hydraulic Risks
Giorgio Giallocosta, Simona Lanza, Francesca Pirlone, Pietro Ugolini

055_Water Saving Assessment in Residential Buildings
Luca Buoninconti, Cristian Filagrossi Ambrosino

066_Water and Social Housing Architecture
Dora Francese

078_Rising Damp in Historical Buildings: Restoration Using the Charge Neutralization Technology (CNT) Domodry
Roberto Castelluccio, Michele Rossetto

089_Design for Hydrocitizens: Architectural Responses to the Defend-Retreat-Attack scenario
Graeme Evans

093_Urban Stormwater Drainage Management by Low Impact Development Practices
Maurizio Giugni, Francesco De Paola

099_Climate Changes, Adaptation, Construction
Adriano Paolella

103_The Quality Problem in Water Distribution Systems
Domenico Pianese, Carmine Covelli, Luigi Cimorelli, Andrea D’Aniello, Francesco Orlando

111_Innovative Water Concepts for the Resilience to Climate Change of East Naples: a Knowledge Transfer-based Design Approach Social Housing Architecture
Cristina Visconti

117_The Eco-friendly Wastewater Treatment at Mountain Refuges: a Short Overview of the Most Promising Technologies
Domenico Caputo, Daniela Piscopo

121_Water Form: Technologies by Nature
Rossella Siani

126_Sea City: the Waterfront of Naples
Viviana Del Naja


132_The Intercultural Seminar “The Sea as a Bridge between Energy Resources and Social Sharing of Land”, November the 27th, 2014

140_The International Seminar ”Recovering River Landscapes”, September the 28th-30th, 2015

141_The Bio-Architecture Workshops of INBAR Sicily: Light, Earth, Water,…, December the 18th-19th, 2015


The latest issue of the magazine
SMC N. 18 | 2023