top of page

Shared Water

spring 2022 | design VI | faruki, w/ garnet bernier

addison crowley prize for best presentation

model of sterilization intervention

This is a project about water, about people, about poetry.

figures and hyper-geometric sculptures are juxtaposed with apartment furnitures.
Artist Study: Torkwase Dyson

Torkwase Dyson (American, born 1973) experiments with geometric abstraction and expressive mark making to explore how brown and black bodies perceive and negotiate space. Her work often draws from history, in particular, history that involves bodies of water, and incorporates cumulative layers of washes, colors and textures to portray equally complex narratives.

Extending Dyson’s use of the hyper-shapes to challenge spatial perceptions, this initial study blocks off the most commonly used features in an apartment to activate the unused, unknown spaces. It aims to acknowledge marginalized spaces, as well as marginalized people who often are forced to thrive in such places. Finally, the interactions with the hyper-shapes are captured in a performance arts piece, where the hyper-shapes are removed to further facilitate the seeing of the unseen.

artist study

The same logic is translated in a pool, where the hyper-shapes activate underused spaces. They also provide those who cannot swim, or those who are uncomfortable swimming, a place in the water.

seipp prize

At the mouth of the New York Harbor,
amidst the blending of salt and fresh water,
this pool challenges the histories of Castle Williams,

and the rules of Governors Island.

A fortress of defense
a Panopticon of imprisonment
now blurs the definition of
interior and exterior, protector and protected.

It embraces the edge,
the water it has always been wary of.
Instead of building up, extending further,
it removes, returns.
As tides greet the masonry walls,
barriers dissolve.
Hypershapes redefine spatial experiences,
focusing on new spaces, non-spaces,
all edges that exist in between.

As we explore the pool,
we bathe in tension.
of the water.
of defense, of colonization, of power and control.
But most of all,
of freedom.
Were we free? Are we free?
What does it mean to be free?

Seipp Prize was a week-long competition where we synthesized our artist study with a site on Governors Island.

shared water

Taking inspiration from artists Kara Walker and Torkwase Dyson, this project uses free association to expand the present context to involvement and interrelation with larger networks of industry, trade, and exploitation.


This is a project about water, and about people. Specifically, we explore and challenge the rituals associated with going to the pool. Instead of heading straight to the locker rooms, changing, swimming, changing again and leaving, we ask: can going to the pool deepen our understanding of water? Can water foster intimacy?

Further development of the scheme focused on the processes of water treatment, expanding the steps of converting rain water into pool water. 

1. Collection
2. Filtration
3. Sterilization
4. Chlorination and Decontamination
5. Recreation
6. Drying

Shared Water: 
A Pool on Governors Island
people walking around fog catcher
1 // Collection


Curtains of mist

always surround first encounters

Vague outlines


The first intervention pairs the initial step in water treatment, collection, with arrival on Governors Island. The blurriness created by the fog catchers parallels the unfamiliarity of faces, using water to symbolically dilute social tensions present in first encounters.

parent and child walking through filtration system
2 // Filtration

When did you become aware of yourself
Of your body
Of looking and being looked at?
When did the anxiety start?
Mild at first,
Then followed by shame and disgust
Sometimes souring moods and anticipations
Finally–Can you take a leap of faith
And revel in beauty of our figures
Instead of in doubts

One encounters water as a thin veil falling down the sides, as a still pool in the collection area, and as water as a malleable surface to walk on. Each of the water forms reflect their body, as well as surrounding bodies in a different way–promoting new interpretations of how we occupy and move through space.

ARCH 3102_station 3 [Converted].jpg
3 // Sterilization

Where are you from
China or India or Mexico or 
Spain–that’s actually really cool?
Yes we eat rice, chicken feet and a lot of spice
Corn and beans,
Paella–did you know saffron originated from Asia?


Regardless we are all the same
From the womb, floating until we leave
In water

Sterilization tubes are elevated above and form a rigid field condition. Unlike the hazy impression of the previous two stations, here people face each other openly and are encouraged to interact. The system of tubes allude to the interlaced relationships forming between visitors.

4 // Chlorination and

Sweaty from running on a clear summer day
Clammy like your hands when you get too nervous
Damp carpet, after the time you accidentally knocked over your glass
Slimy seaweed you pick up by the beach
Drenched, dripping in the storm without an umbrella

Let me into your time, space, stories, histories.
Will you share your water with me?

The chlorination and decontamination station is coupled with two showers, one roofed and private, the other exposed and shared. The decision to shower confronts the accepted customs of pool-going, and questions the relationship between water and intimacy: why can’t we share our bodies, and our water?

ARCH 3102_station 4 [Converted]-01-01.jpg
ARCH 3102_station 5 [Converted]-01.jpg
5 // Recreation

Move with ease
Go straight and jump in
The water will be there
Below the steps, in front of the diving boards
Under your limbs, propelling stroke after stroke
Always solid, never dry
Where does the water come from
With ease, with what ease?

At the pool, after bodies enter the water, the focus shifts away from intimacy to utility. Whereas in previous stations water treatment equipment served as a medium for bodily and spatial questions, here the filtration system takes center stage. Visitors can interact with and marvel at the equipment that makes an artificial collection of water possible.

6 // Drying

Scarcity disguised in abundance
332,500,000 cubic miles of water
Only 2,551,000 is fresh, 0.7%
Even less in rivers and lakes,
22,393 cubic miles, a mere 0.007%
Sharing liquids is a necessity
To share, a beautiful choice
To be shared with, an honor

Finally, the project culminates in a small man-made beach and boardwalk. The footprints reveal the gradual drying as one moves away from the pool, and hopefully with it, the understanding of and appreciation for bodies and water, bodies in water. 

collage of poolside, with sand
ARCH 3102_station 7 [Converted]-01.jpg

Desai Wang

bottom of page