AquaTektur #1 – Architecture and water

Nineteen architectural firms and Axor are thinking ahead

Havana 2002 Renowned architects from around the world discussed the use of water without having to adhere to any specifications. As a result, nineteen future designs were developed by the end of three days, ranging from product-oriented sketches to abstract designs.

The workshop centered around discussions between the creative architects and the designer brand Axor on the bathroom of the future – with no ties to previous conceptions or the usual technical and spatial constraints. Launched in 2002, the Axor AquaTektur workshop series is a form of fundamental technical/architectural research. It reflects the requirement of the Axor brand and the company Hansgrohe to continually rethink the bathroom together with those who shape our built environment and our homes – and to develop visionary solutions. 

Rethinking bathrooms

In 2002 in Havana, several architects dedicated their sketches to new ways of using water and a new, sensual water experience. Innovative ideas were developed, such as a fog shower, the “magic glove” bathing glove and a spiral-shaped waterfall in the shower cabin. The use of a touch panel instead of a faucet and wall and floor profiles with added benefits also highlighted the participants’ technical creativity. Against the backdrop of the conference location, a country with uncertain water and power supplies, the discussions dealt with the use of rainwater and graywater, as well as energy recovery. 

Ideas for the new water experience

Does a bathroom have to look like a bathroom? The bathroom as part of an overall living concept, its liberation through unconventional layouts, overcoming the pure hygiene-based function – topics that were thoroughly discussed at the AquaTektur workshop. The sketches included the “Havana bathroom” – a large, light-flooded room that radiates sensuality. AquaTektur is therefore not just about simple product designs, but about design-based solutions that focus on the connection between water, man and space. 

AquaTektur 1: the participants

Jens Bothe, Bothe Richter Teherani, Hamburg
Jochem Jourdan, Jourdan & Müller, Frankfurt (M.)
Gernot Nalbach, Nalbach + Nalbach, Berlin
Jórunn Ragnarsdóttir, Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei, Stuttgart
Amandus Sattler, Allmann Sattler Wappner, Munich
Günther Schaller, Behnisch Behnisch & Partner, Stuttgart
Elmar Schossig, Gatermann + Schossig, Cologne
Johann Spengler, Steidle + Partner, Munich
Duncan Jackson, Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners, London
Julian C. Sharpe, TP Bennett Architects, London
Branimir Medic, de Architekten Cie., Amsterdam
Valentin Bearth, Bearth + Deplazes, Chur
Beda Faessler, riken yamamoto & beda faessler, Zug
Francois Fasnacht, Francois Fasnacht, Basel
Alfred Berger, Berger + Parkkinen Architekten, Vienna
Florian Riegler, Riegler Riewe Architekten, Graz
Christian P. Arcay-Leliever, SOM Skidmore Owens & Merrill LLP, New York
Winka Dubbeldam, Archi-Tectonics, New York
Wayne Turett, Turett Collaborative Architects, New York