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Architecture professor leads effort to make water visible

Michelle Laboy, assistant professor of architecture and a member of the Resilient Cities Lab, said that “maintaining groundwater levels in Boston is critical to the preservation of old buildings in some of the city’s most historic neighborhoods.” Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

By Jason Kornwitz | news@Northeastern

Walk down Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood anytime between now and the second week of October. If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll come across at least one of 10 Bluetooth-enabled well caps designed to monitor and display groundwater levels in real time.

The well caps are the brainchild of Michelle Laboy, assistant professor of architecture at Northeastern, and they’re helping to make groundwater perpetually visible to city officials and residents alike.

“I’ve always been interested in water’s role in the urban landscape,” said Laboy, a member of Northeastern’s Resilient Cities Lab, “and maintaining groundwater levels in Boston is critical to the preservation of old buildings in some of the city’s most historic neighborhoods.”

The effort—dubbed Project LightWell—is being carried out in partnership with FieLDworkshop, Laboy’s research-based design practice; Conform Lab, a digital fabrication firm; and Boston Groundwater Trust, which was created in 1986 to monitor groundwater levels in neighborhoods where old building foundations are threatened by drawdown. It’s being funded by BGwT, the College of Arts, Media and Design, and Autodesk, the 3D design, engineering, and software company.

Read the full article.

 

Published On: September 15, 2017 |
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