Diploam 2016 - "Watermarks" by Marte N. Skjæggestad

Exploring the Potential of Water and The Dynamics of Change

This project was awarded with a Distinction for outstanding quality by the diploma assessors


Water inhabit a strong duality; being vital for all known forms of life, and on the other hand challenging our societies with rising sea levels, drought and extreme weather. The elements role is complex, playing theological, economical, social and environmental roles in almost every society. Humans have for thousands of years settled down by the water to exploit its potentials and now we paradoxically can see that 70 % of the worlds coastlines might be affected by sea level change within ± 20 % of the global mean by the end of this century.1

Watermarks zooms into Mumbai, India – one of the megacities that is predicted to be among the most affected by the rising sea level. In fact, the issue is already visible with flooding of parts of the city fabric during the monsoon season. This diploma project aims to highlight these challenges by looking at how to adapt with simple means on a small scale. How can local craftsmanship, culture and people be a driving force for a resilient adaption? How can some areas benefit from the changing water conditions?

The project is situated in Khar Danda Fishing Village and works with the duality of sea level rise and water shortage. Building on the places identity rather than gentrification Watermarks illustrates an alternative urban development ?of Mumbai`s city fabric. Using an incremental approach, some structures are added now to fill in the areas missing links, while new structures will be added in the future to coexist with the rising sea level and facilitate for new economies to sustain the area. The first step of the project introduces water-harvesting systems, public water tanks, basic facilities connected to water and a water purification system along with much needed public spaces. Flexible rooms are created in order to allow the existing activities at the site to continue, while these spaces further can grow and mutate to meet the needs of the future.


“Water is always in flux.

The fluid matter changes qualities and capacities wherever it is, and it always takes new forms.”2



1. IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 13

2. Red. Insoll,Timothy,The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 38






Post-2100 Sea Level Rise for the island of Salsette, Mumbai. The site is marked in red

Urban Strategy. An urban strategy is introduced and proposes that new structures will be added on the periphery of areas that might benefit from the rising sea level. Further, short-, medium- and long- term perspectives add an incremental approach to the implementations in order for the structures to mutate together with the changing conditions. In a short-term perspective the project aims to enhance the existing situation, in a medium-term to sustain the given area and in a long-term perspective to re-connect the new waterscape of Mumbai.


Exhibition_ Research and introduction of the chosen site


Exhibition_ Proposals


Water tower within the existing structures


The water towers are placed above selected one-story buildings and create new public pockets within the village


Exhibition_ Proposed public pier, sketch models


The public pier runs out in the ocean as en extension of Khar Danda`s existing common lanes


Site model 1:500


Model 1:50 of the piers main common plaza that extends into the tidal zone

Model photo_ Water flow