In today’s day and age, most of us still take water for granted, but the Water Museum, designed by Juan Domingo Santos, stands as a reminder that the situation is apt to change for the generations to come. The structure is a simple volume with several cantilevering protrusions, set amid a Zen-like yard, with tree stumps and reflective pools gracing its grounds. It was commissioned by the Lanjaron Town Council, in Granada, Spain, and its purpose is to provide entertaining opportunities to educate future generations on how precious and how scarce water actually is. Not only is the building graceful in design, it also boasts a spectacular location, at the foot of the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range in Granada. The surrounding landscape and natural vegetation is yet another reminder that water is the source of all life, without which human existence would not only be impossible, but also deprived of natural beauty.
The Water Museum was a project with many constraints, a true challenge for its designer. It had to be completed on a limited budget, which Santos took as opportunity to incorporate as many of the site’s features, materials and buildings into the design. The result is a structure that seems to have been there forever, does not disrupt the surroundings and still manages to be fresh and exciting. The Lanjaron region is famous for its traditional crafts, locally produced honey and medicinal qualities of its spring water. City Hall decided to place the museum alongside the Lanjaron River and an irrigation ditch which runs around several old buildings, a complex that once served as the municipal slaughterhouse. The upcoming museum was placed here on purpose, with the aim of preserving the area’s natural environment from “property speculation with the design of a pedestrian itinerary that connects the new activity with the water infrastructure and several examples of traditional architecture, including watermills and an old public laundry.”