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Design as Scholarship
The Watershed Architecture of the Mekong River Basin:
Trans-boundary Actions
Derek Hoeferlin
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In this project, I suggest an alternative, speculative future in counterpoint to the recent construction and planned development of large-scale, water-based infrastructural transformations in Southeast Asia. Critical of massive hydropower dam constructions that tend to prioritize certain interests over others, I question the future viability of such actions when weighed in the context of possible negative effects that such dams may have across the entire river basin. Additionally, the current forecast of climate change stressors, especially in regards to freshwater availability, positions the future of the basin as uncertain. The focus of this essay is part of my multiyear project titled “Way Beyond Bigness: The Need for a Watershed Architecture,” which studies the Mekong, Mississippi, and Rhine River Basins in relation to water-based infrastructure and design challenges.

Keywords: Asia, landscape, urbanism and planning, infrastructure, design.

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