Since the dawn of time, humanity has been drawn towards water bodies and settled around them for the most precious resource- water. The earliest civilizations grew from river banks. As the scale and fabric of the city changed, so did the function and relevance of the waterfront.
A waterfront is the area that borders the water body. From an irrigation source for agriculture to ports for industries, waterfronts have always been the core part of cities making significant contributions to their development. They are not only pleasing to the eye, but also have a great economic potential.
What attracts people to a waterfront?
Here are 10 factors to consider when designing a waterfront
The residents and tourists of a city should have a sensory connection with the water body.
This pier cantilevers 90m into the sea and derives inspiration from the sail of a ship.
As the waterfront will be a place of public gathering, it must cater to the needs of the different groups of people visiting it.
Custom-made seatings facing a lake, with glowing headrests with cut-outs inspired by the local corals. They also consist of concealed storage units and increase the comfort of those enjoying the lake.
This park features a party-submerged plaza that functions on the same technology as a submarine, with air chambers that adjust the level of water intake based on the number of people. It provides access from West Palm Beach to the middle of the lagoon. An organic restaurant with hydroponic cultivation and an auditorium make this the perfect social gathering spot.
Creating pedestrian-only areas around the waterfront brings the people one step closer to nature and helps fully absorb the beauty of the water body.
This project in Brazil was built on land reclaimed after a viaduct that hurt the marine ecosystem was demolished. The citizens got more access to the waterfront on this pedestrian-favoring promenade, which also facilitates bicycles and cars.
The commercialization of the waterfront brings along with a greater possibility of pollution. Preventive practices should be enforced to create an environment-friendly design.
This pier in Manhattan was constructed over the remnants of an old pier that succumbed to Hurricane Sandy. With raked pier seatings, the audience enjoys the events of the auditorium comfortably while sunlight can penetrate beneath the pier and support marine life.
A waterfront is a natural crowd puller and this can be used to boost the local economy.
Sitting on the edge of Jinsha Lake in China, this commercial spot is a blend of traditional courtyards and hypermodern design. It includes a mall, retail street, and waterside pavilion with many food and beverage options. The circulation is carefully curated to provide the citizens with a shopping experience that lets them explore nature.
While redeveloping a waterfront, preserving its genius loci is necessary.
Baijilao, meaning hundred interlaced rivers, is an ancient village that depends on water for its livelihood. This bamboo installation inspired by the rural bamboo weaving provides shade fot the day-to-day activities on the waterfront.
The appropriate materials should be used in a waterfront design.
This restaurant and research center in Norway sits partially submerged underwater, providing a surreal dining experience. Made with rough 5-foot-thick concrete walls, the structure is intended to become one with the surroundings, providing a good base for the growth of limpets and kelp while also surviving strong currents.
Bylaws and codes about the design and construction of buildings on the waterfront must be consulted.
Taking the above factors into account, we can design spaces on waterfronts that bring the community together, boost the economy while being kind to nature.