Everyone is aware how climate change affects large cities such as bringing heavy rains. Concrete surfaces in big cities limit the absorption and evaporation of rain water which causes rain water to overload the drainage system. The designer duo Justine Bergeron and Manon Le Sant realized that cities are not adequately equipped to face today’s environmental challenges such as urban water management.
They started dreaming about creating a green city that takes into account all aspects of the environment and the consequences humans can have on it. It could possibly include rethinking how cities use lighting, transport or even materials.
They were of the opinion that the root cause of such problems is always design related and hence they started exploring the problem from design perspective, without limiting their thought process within the realms of design.
Their aim was to find understand and address the problems related to urban heat islands produced by impervious surfaces and rainwater management. This objective lead to the birth of this unique concept called RESEAU.
The concept was inspired by the large number of underground streams that were, over time, covered due to urban development under the island of Montreal. Their intention was not only to help manage rainwater runoff and reduce the urban heat island effect, but also enhance the overall experience through acoustic and visual effects in a sustainable and environment-friendly way.
The design concept is an innovative urban water management system made out of prefabricated eco-friendly concrete slabs that controls rainfall and regulates the outflow, amplifies its sound to magnify its presence in the sewer.
The rainwater is guided by surface textures towards the collection channels or simply trickles into the ground. The surface texture is inspired by the effect created by water on sand – like a sound box. The inner water duct is designed to produce sound waves that bounce off the duct walls like an acoustic chamber. The overall experience is amplified by the addition of water jets in the duct, which can be activated by motion sensors or temperature gauges that help control the surface temperature of the tiles during heat waves. The channels are dormant during winter. RESEAU is endorsed by engineering experts and uses environmentally-friendly materials like UHPGC glass concrete, which has unique physical properties that make it best suited for Montreal’s weather conditions. The entire system is versatile and can be installed using a variety of material and colour combinations. It is compatible with vegetation, lighting and water features too.