ARCH: rivers – ecological, economic, cultural & ideological links between faraway lands – living connectors.

CONTENT / Once hugely determinant in the development of shoreside urban areas, the evolution of city structure, and vital in the survival of the local communities, the role and hence the appreciation of urban riverfronts largely diminished, somewhere in the last century. With the development of infrastructure and the general social and economic transformations, rivers were often viewed as obstacles in city planning. It wasn’t until about three decades ago that cities all around Europe began to rediscover the underlying enormous potential of urban rivers.


Beyond the apparent aesthetic, recreational values, rivers also largely define urban identity, and at the same time evoke a spiritual bond, cultural and historical cohesion among twin cities along their banks. Danube alone connects four capitals and a number of large towns both physically and culturally. Yet, up to this point there still are a great number of urban riverfronts which have been underused partly due to bad design, or simply by oversight.


AIMS / This workshop aims at the investigation of the relationship between inter-urban rivers and riverside communities; the understanding exploration of the potential of underutilised embankment sites, and the inspiration of architecture students to exploit this potential through creative design thinking and collaboration.


METHOD / Working in groups of 2 or 3, students explore the possibility of small-scale design interventions in larger riverside cities.


Using online maps, like Google Earth they locate urban locales, smaller embankment sites which in spite of their obvious proximity to residential areas have clearly failed to create the natural connection between the people and the water; or even worse, which currently act as a barrier between the community and the river.


Then, they select one and create design ideas to reintroduce, restore or strengthen the bond, the interaction. The groups lay out a series of design solutions which together help reinforce local, visual as well as international and intercultural identity, at the same time.


SCHEDULE / Two-week Workshop. Weekly 4-hour class arranged with the students:


1st class – Introduction & potential site mapping

2nd class – Development of conceptual solutions

3rd class – Final Crit


EVALUATION / Evaluation is based on the fulfilment of workshop aims. After the workshop students are expected to have a better understanding of river cities, the ability to evaluate the contextual quality of embankment sites, and to be able to create the scene of community interaction with the river through the language of architecture.


Bibliography / Links:


Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Faculty of Architecture (HUNGARY) / PORTSCHY, Szabolcs Dávid (