Building With Water With Leon Radeljic & Leif Hinrichson

Our final speakers were from Berlin. But they were presenting at Building With Water because of the consequences of what is happening upriver from other massive highland river damming projects, this time on the Turkish and Kurdistani Iraq border. Leon Radeljic from ZRS Architects/Engineers and Leif Hinrichson from the Jiyan Foundation, shared their story of a remarkable project, theChamchamal Healing Garden for Victims of Torture and War Trauma, in the city of Chamchamal, Northern (Kurdistani) Iraq. The project includes buildings using traditional rammed earth techniques, once popular, now perceived to be old fashioned, amidst a well-cultivated garden and animal sanctuary. The garden, and other aspects of the project are only possible because of the integration of a decentralised water purification system, which ensures water for the garden’s plants to grow and be cultivated. This in the context of Iraq facing water starvation, drought and worse because of the Turkish Government’s control of the dam’s in the upland border region of the two ancient rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates. Once again the naked powerplay of politics was uncovered and visible, though with the Chamchamal Healing Garden an inspirational counter-example had been placed in front of the audience, graphically proposing the reach of the possible and a sign of hope in the future

As the symposium’s closing speakers ended the afternoon we had travelled from the low lying delta of Bangladesh, through the pragmatic concerns of sanitation, the technological adaptation of floating architecture, and the symbolic loss of water world’s embodied in performance art, to the highlands and uplands of Iceland and the Middle East, all connected to each other by the flow motion world of Planet Water.

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