Folding Water™ is a ventilated levee that protects shorelines by regulating both rising sea levels and the delta and bay waters. Responding to dramatic global and climatic transformations, this dynamic levee system preserves waterfront property, maintains areas for recreation and tourism, and conserves the estuarine ecosystem that is dependent on tidal action. It departs from the conventional, static levee or dam by exchanging waters through a perforated pump wall to artificially manage tides and to create microbay estuaries along the shoreline of San Francisco and other key areas within the bay. These estuarine re-creations, or “bay avatars,” mirror the shoreline’s current water levels, activity, and ecology, sustaining the relationship between the estuary and its inhabitants. The subaquatic structure of the proposed levee integrates geothermal energy plants, tidal turbines to harvest wave energy, desalination facilities, and wastewater disposal. This megascaled civic project provides a vital portal for the cultural and environmental future of the region in the form of a monumental “fold” of water.
The proposal for Folding Water™ centers on an idea of infrastructure that registers experience in real time to internalize the values of ecological and cultural sustainability. This proposal reallocates the understanding of infrastructure from a massive, dissociative intervention to a phenomenological experience that conflates the variable nature of perception and the ever-changing conditions of the environment. Folding Water™, though expansive and monumental in scale, provides visual and corporeal interactions within partial and intimate moments.