Fourth Nature

Fourth Nature is an architectural and landscape strategy that challenges the standard methods of flood management and occupation of cities with rising water levels. The strategy focuses on establishing new territories between land, water, and inhabitable learning spaces across both river banks of the city Stein, near Krems an der Donau.

The ambition is to create educational spaces that would facilitate a more homogenous layering of the three stratas that constitute Stein; the old city, the water, and the natural tree landscape. In order to facilitate this mediation, our research is carried out under two parameters, first an understanding of how to channel the water, in order to work with the force of the water and not merely to create structures that would act as a shield against it. Second, the establishment of new ground, that would allow the creation of a new dynamic landscape, that is created by the new sediment collected through the placement of a series of obstacles, or inhabitable spaces.

Different parameters control these obstacles or the architectural form, such as curvature and orientation, dictating the placement and production of different layers of our intervention within the landscape.

Where some act as windbreakers, others allow vegetation to build up, and the rest as water collectors. Thus, by controlling the architectural form and the stages of implementation on site, allowing the sediment buildup and its consolidation within the force of the water in order to produce a new holistic relationship between architecture and landscape.
In terms of the program, the newly established relationship acts as a variety of different atmospheres dictated by the newly developed fourth nature spaces, where the user has the complete autonomy to dictate their own use of these ephemeral, atmospheric and naturally controlled spaces, thus challenging the concept of institutionalized learning.

Teamwork with Mira Al-Suradi