South of Geneva, Switzerland, the Aire River runs across a plain that for centuries has been agricultural land. Since the late nineteenth century, the waterway has been embanked for flood protection, which has caused a gradual loss of habitat for a large variety of plants and animals. In 2001, a decision was made to renaturalize the river. Yet rather than merely reconstructing the river’s former natural bed, Superpositions, the association of firms commissioned with the project, applied “topographic imagination,” a method that combines the embanked channel with a newly designed pasture landscape.
This new book documents that renaturalization project through drawings, images of construction work, and images of the new waterway. Essays and commentary by international contributors Jean-Marc Besse, Lorette Coen, Gerorges Descombes, G. Mathias Kondolf, Elissa Rosenberg, Gilles A. Tiberghien, and Marc Treib demonstrate how the restored river has been transformed, becoming again a characteristic feature of this landscape on the fringe of the city.