Public Water Studio considers how architects can leverage ambiguities within the text of the Great Lakes Compact to design the future of industrial development in the Great Lakes Watershed with the enrichment of the public in mind. Public Water Studio investigates the possible mechanics of the Great Lakes megalopolis as a climate refuge, holding 20% of the world’s and 90% of the United States’ fresh water. The aquatic riches, and the relative stability of those riches, has the potential to invert the typical cycle of corporate prestige projects, with cities extracting concessions from future urban developments to prioritize the public good.
The work of the Public Water Studio consists of research, documentation, and design proposals, taking the text of the Great Lakes Compact itself as a starting point for interventions. Students will develop a toolbox of “Public Offsets” extracted from manufacturing interests who seek to use the Great Lakes’ water, in tandem with specific designs that explore the impacts and imaginaries of these new structures in the Great Lakes region. The studio created design proposals which consider supply chains, hybrid factories, public and non-consumptive program in Toledo, Ohio. Public Water Studio explores the architectural implications of water politics as leverage to unlock, define, and design a new “public” in the Great Lakes Megalopolis.