Learning from the past about water and architecture: Case of Kampong Ayer, Brunei

Inanc Isil Yildirim1, Lana Kudumovic2
1 Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Interior Architecture Department, Beykent University, Istanbul, Turkiye,
2 Faculty of Architecture and Design, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakif University, Istanbul, Turkiye.


Abstract Water is the most important source of life and livelihood for the continuity of life. Throughout history, in city planning, architecture and interior architecture, which form the shell of life, different solutions have been produced to meet the needs of people with water. While the changing needs of life add new meanings to live with water, we witness the changing borders between sea and land. Although habitats on water seem like an alternative due to extreme climate changes, actually living with water is not a new concept. However, with the number of extreme climatic events as a result of human activities and the changing of the planet’s climate, some issues and sensitivities have emerged in the evaluation of water. Not only extreme climate changes, but also increasing density, economic trends and sustainability issues have led to an increased focus on living with water. In this study, the example of Kampung Ayer in Brunei, which is one of the largest water neighbourhood that has survived to the present day and where life still continues, has been discussed and evaluated as a source that can provide inputs for the design of water cities, which are seen as an alternative among the cities of the future, by trying to understand their positive features and possible problems. In this context, considering historical process and population density, the features that can be considered as a water city with public functions such as education, health and transportation have been effective in the selection of the sample. The guiding and instructive features of these examples from the past, which will provide a sustainable and healthy collective life, to the floating architectural examples of the future are discussed. As a result, by learning from the historical water villages, findings and suggestions are included to be an input for future designs. The originality of this study is the use of water villages, which have many post-use experiences of life on water in history, as a learning tool in floating architectural designs.
Key Words: Living with Water, Floating Architecture, Traditional Floating Villages, Climate Change, Cultural Sustainability.


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Corresponding Author
Inanc Isil Yildirim,
Faculty of Engineering and Architecture,
Interior Architecture Department,
Beykent University,
E-mail: inancisilyildirim@gmail.com