There’s no such thing as the drought being over. There are only going to be cycles and our cycles, most models tell us, are only going to continue to be extreme. Wet will be wetter and dry will by drier." — Hadley Arnold
Peter and Hadley Arnold are the founding co-directors of the Arid Lands Institute, a design-centered research platform devoted to making drylands "water-smart" the world over. Based in Los Angeles out of Woodbury University, ALI uses the American West as a case study for developing adaptive strategies to changing water systems and accessibility, as brought on by climate change.
Both Peter and Hadley earned MArchs from SCI-Arc, and have set their focus on dryland research and design since the late 1990s. Their approach to the drought is pragmatic, not alarmist: “The drought’s been handy because it’s brought an enormous amount of attention to that particular dimension of a changing climate and our need to adapt to it,” Hadley told Archinect.
Their work will continue regardless of the drought, but the increased public attention does help focus the public around water issues, especially in a region woefully unprepared to deal with a future where "wet will be wetter and dry will be drier".
And because they're not myopic about water issues as contained to drought times, the Arnolds bring an essential perspective to the Dry Futures jury – water as an ecological system, not a discrete object. The issue of drought isn't simply one of scarcity. As Peter puts it, "drought is important, but preparing for flood is equally important. It’s the kind of unseen side that I think is really crucial."
The ALI was selected by the AIA's College of Fellows for this year's Latrobe Prize, granting $100,000 for a two-year research effort. Archinect is thrilled to have them serve on the Dry Futures jury.
Have an idea for how to address the drought with design? Submit your ideas to the Dry Futures competition!