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Design and Nature

9th October – 12th December 2009

An exhibition of photographs by Dr. Adriana de Miranda, who has conducted several fieldworks in the Near and Far East to study water-wheels, as an ancient type of water architecture which has had a fundamental role, over the centuries, for supplying and carrying water for irrigation.

Using the power of the river, “hydraulic norias” raise water to irrigate fields which are at a higher level than the level of the water. Hydraulic norias have played a particularly significant role in combining design, efficiency and respect for the environment, and are also an authentic expression of architecture with specific and defined artistic connotations.

Design and Nature shows a selection of the most significant photographs of water-wheels studied by the author in Syrian and Chinese landscapes. The exhibition intends to underline the spectacular aspects of these water structures and their successful integration into the surrounding landscapes and increase the awareness of the beauty of the sites.

Most of the pictures appear in Adriana’s recent book Water Architecture in the lands of Syria: the Water-Wheels (Roma, l’Erma di Bretschneider, 2007). The photos shown here were included as part of an ampler exhibition by the author at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in autumn 2008.

Adriana de Miranda is an Italian architect and Art historian with a special interest in the history of Mediterranean Architecture. She graduated in Milan with two Masters Degrees, one in Architectural Design and one in History of Islamic Art, and received her PhD at SOAS. Her research fields include environmental and landscape design, indigenous building and design traditions, particularly focusing on Roman and Islamic architectural history.