The River and its Double
Jean-Marc Besse, Lorette Coen, Georges Descombes, G. Mathias Kondolf, Elissa Rosenberg, Gilles A. Tiberghien, Marc Treib
Park Books, 2018
South of Geneva, Switzerland, river Aire runs across a plain that for centuries has been agricultural land. From the late 19th century, the waterway has been embanked for flood protection, causing also the gradual loss of habitat for a large variety of plants and animals. In 2001, decisions were taken to re-naturalize the river. Yet rather than to merely reconstruct its former natural bed, Superpositions, the association of firms commissioned with the project, applied “topographic imagination”, a method termed by American landscape designer Elissa Rosenberg. It combines the embanked channel with a newly designed pasture landscape. The channel indicates a work in progress and serves as a reference line that makes “before” and “after” traceable.
This new book documents this much recognized, award-winning renaturalization project with drawings, images of construction work and of the new waterway. Essays and comments by international contributors Jean-Marc Besse, Lorette Coen, Gerorges Descombes, G. Mathias Kondolf, Elissa Rosenberg, Gilles A. Tiberghien, and Marc Treib demonstrate how the restored river Aire has been upgraded to become again a characteristic feature of this landscape on the fringe of the city.