Sustainability- from then to now
brl 01 - 11 - 2010

I have observed interesting uses of sustainability in Cordoba and Granada that have been around for many centuries and continue to work today. The water ways and their advantages make use of the environment that surrounds them. The Great Mosque at Cordoba uses irrigation through canals, bringing water from central fountains to the orange trees in the courtyard. This not only provides the aroma of citrus but also creates a micro climate, a place that is cool with fresh air and out of the hot sun.
Granada is another great example of being aware of the surroundings and taking advantage of it. The Alhambra complex was built at the base of the hills allowing gravity to pull the water downwards with increasing pressure. All through the old city I noticed examples of canals that supplied water to the gardens and the fountains in the courtyards. The stones that we walked on were all laid in a way that would allow water to run and pass through it ,a form of irrigation. Another cooling device mentioned was that water would have been thrown on the floor, the groves in the stones would hold the moister thus cooling the floor. It was also interesting to see that the designers highlighted the functionality, the canals were laid out in a pattern at Cordoba and at Granada the canals followed the paths that we walked on. It was so nice to walk alongside the water and to be able to hear it, reminding us of its aesthetic properties as well as it functionality.
Top Image- diagram of canals at the Great Mosque. Bottom Image- canal at the King's Summer Palace

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