In ancient times the Nile valley was subject to periods of flooding that provided people with the irrigation and fertile soil needed to grow crops. Modern dams have radically altered that natural system, but a new proposal by architecture students in Nantes sees a different way of providing flood control while sustaining the environment. Silt Lake City is a "hydropolis" - a series of modular floating structures that take advantage of the rise and fall of the waters. Agriculture, residences, businesses and energy generators all float on the water and rise and fall with the tides.
Silt Lake City is a student architecture project by Margaux Leycuras, Marion Ottmann and Anne-Hina Mallette that won a prize in a competition organized by the Foundation Jacques Rougerie. Before the construction of the Aswan dam, the Nile valley was subject to a natural cycle of flooding, which provided water for irrigation and nutrients in the form of silt. However the floods could be devastating and the dam was built to help regulate the Nile. Unfortunately, the dam radically changed the ecosystem with silt accumulating behind the dam and salt water from the sea causing erosion.
To solve this problem, the team proposed a solution that combines some flood control with a series of modular cities along the river. The project would divide Lake Nasser into city-modules set within a 200-meter-deep reservoir lake. These floating cities would be protected by an enveloping sea wall that acts as a barrier while providing connections to the shore. During the wet months, the dam is opened and the river floods the land as it used to, providing water and nutrients. Then the dam is closed to maintain water level during non flood times. The result is a more natural system that protects the region from devastating flooding, but still allows the river to provide life.
Images ©Margaux Leycuras, Marion Ottmann and Anne-Hina Mallette