Water recreation and healing center for refugees and locals in Florence, Italy
Academic project Washington University in St. Louis
Florence summer abroad 2018
Critic: Igor Marjanovic
Design proposal and drawings produced with Wentao Guo
The power of water is immeasurable. Florence has experienced historically catastrophic floods that took
thousands of lives as well as artistic, architectural, and literary masterpieces. The Florentines have shown united determination
to heal and strengthen itself after such tremendous physical and cultural losses. At the highest point in
Florence, a sanctuary of water awaits. Refugees and locals of all origins are welcome. Upon arrival, a canopy
spanning monumentally over the city wall draws a visiter into the safe haven underneath it. As it is open to all, no government-issued ID is required for entry.
Water, the all-encompassing transience of things, is the main feature of the monument. A dispersed pool of water
glistens under the sunlight that envelopes this space when the shutters of the canopy are open. During times of
rain, the canopy's shutters are closed, allowing rainwater to trickle down the curves of the canopy walls into a
water filtration and storage system connected to the adjacent Bardini Gardens. The purified water then supplies the
sanctuary's community pools, cafe and locker rooms. Under the light- and water-filtering canopy, one can, at least for a
moment, let the terrible memories of their journeys wash away.