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Designing Water: Morphology, Ecology and Histories of Waterscapes in South Asia

The panel intends to explore innovative narratives of water structures in terms of their eco-historical, socio-political and aesthetic siting, beyond the conventional art historical parameters, and breaking the boundaries of hitherto often tightly fenced disciplines.

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· Jutta Jain-Neubauer Dept of Asian and Islamic Art, Univ. Bonn, Germany (Bonn, Germany)

Long Abstract

Designing water has been manifesting itself in myriad water structures since the inception of architectural thinking in South Asia, visible in their ingeniously conceived forms and reflecting the interconnection between spatial topographies, aesthetic perceptions, ecological sustainability, hydro-technical knowledge, robust trade and commerce, regional or canonical conventions, and political manipulation. The objective of this panel is to investigate the immense cultural and eco-historical significance of water structures in South Asia, which often reveal ingenious design solutions for collecting and distributing water, water hygiene and community health as well as the spatial habitat. Today, when climate change and water conservation are pressing issues, this discussion about traditional forms of water harvesting and distribution systems may prove to be relevant in evolving alternative thinking in the current water debate. Topics of prospective panellists could include – but are not limited to – the following: