December 2020

When build­ing a house, it seems nowa­days this cre­ates as many choic­es as there are in a super­mar­ket: you draw what you want and we can build it. The super­mar­ket has at least pre-pack­aged items. You want pota­to crisps? Nar­row it down to organ­ic, slight­ly salt­ed, healthy and a few brands remain.

With rain­pipes it is dif­fer­ent and there are a few routes:

Rein­vent­ing the rain­pipe. How does the water real­ly flow and would chang­ing the flow of the water shape the rain­pipe (Assum­ing that water has­n’t changed much over the last mil­len­nia, is this per­haps a slight­ly arro­gant route: who am I to change the course of water.)

Look at dif­fer­ent solu­tions glob­al­ly: in Japan­ese tem­ples the water comes down a chain. This was also used by the archi­tect Aldo van Eijck, but would result in cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion these days. As the new house is in a coastal area, with a lot of wind this solu­tion may not be so good as the wind will blow the water off the chain.

Chain drain­pipes, house in Suffolk

Look around. This is what I have done. Near Mor­den, an indus­tri­al build­ing, huge brick­wall with square rain­pipes com­ing down. In our vic­to­ri­an ter­raced street: rain pipes com­ing down in many mate­ri­als, straight from a gut­ter, no hop­pers. Many ser­vices to Vic­to­ri­an hous­es were applied after the hous­es were built, so the facades are often dec­o­rat­ed with all kinds of pipes and wires which once rep­re­sent­ed progress.

Exam­ine what the build­ing needs: it is not an iso­lat­ed prob­lem and should make sense with the rest of the façade.