Thomas Nideroest

Thomas Nideroest
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Room 622, 6/F, Knowles Building, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
When the Only Water Left is Gray – The Growing Quest for Foreign Watersheds
Thomas Nideroest
Charles Eliot Fellow, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

Thomas Nideroest
Charles Eliot Fellow, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

Lu Xiaoxuan
Lecturer, Division of Landscape Architecture, The University of Hong Kong


The prestigious Charles Eliot Traveling Fellowship was awarded to me by the Department of Landscape Architecture and allows the continuation of academic work for another two years after graduation. This work particularly came along during the extreme California drought between 2011 and 2015, and was a direct reaction to the re-negotiation of the subsea pipeline project. This pipeline to Anchorage, Alaska was meant to tap into Alaskan Rivers and transfer freshwater to California where it’s supposed to stimulate the local economy and maintain population growth.

The Fellowship addresses this ongoing water-energy-nexus from the perspective of landscape architecture and urban design, through a comparative study based on large scale water systems in arid regions around the world. Its purpose is to discuss issues of urban and regional hydrology, coastal and riverine ecology and wastewater treatment in the context of the American-Southwest. The project studies five arid regions that share similar symptoms and issues with the American Southwest, such as: technological control over natural resources, water production in foreign watersheds, continuous and repeating implementation of large public works, big capital investment in alternative water infrastructure and technologies, as well as rapid past or future urban growth. Each case study starts with a representative megaproject and its socio-political and socio-ecological implications, seeking to centralize and privatize water services. The aim of this project is to document, illustrate and provoke through the contemporary craft of landscape architecture. Revealing the territorial gap, investigations lead from water production at the territorial scale, to key water infrastructures all the way down to the community and the single house parcel, where water is consumed. The argument of this lecture raises the question for alternative models based on a landscape based planning tool, as well as the idea of decentralized networks vs. centralization.

About the speaker:

Thomas Nideroest is a Swiss Landscape Architect and Researcher. His stewardship in landscape design promotes interdisciplinary thinking across different scales, addressing urban design issues at the intersection of the territory and the built environment. Thomas’ focus on landscape based planning strategies shape social and ecological processes into multifunctional urban spaces. He worked on award-winning projects at the offices of Sasaki Associates, Guido Hager Partner AG, Surfacedesign Inc. and Peter Walker Landscape Architecture. Thomas received his BSc in Landscape Architecture from the University of Applied Sciences at Rapperswil and his MLA from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he was awarded with the prestigious Charles Eliot Travelling Fellowship 2016.

The DLA Research Seminar Series provides a platform to discuss scholarly research on the built environment that is interdisciplinary in nature. The series aims to identify common research threads from landscape architecture, architecture, planning, urban design, and conservation, and by doing so instigates critical reflections on the different approaches to the study of landscapes and cities.


All are welcome. For enquiries, call: 3917 7699