World Architecture Festival Reveals Winner of Inaugural Water Research Prize
World Architecture Festival (WAF) has revealed the 2018 winner of its inaugural Water Research Prize, supported by WAF founder partner GROHE: an innovative, community led water management system, designed by a team of students from Pontificia Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) and as a result of a wider research programme, Ciudades Auto-Sostenibles Amazónicas (CASA), coordinated by PUCP and UCL’s Development Planning Unit. The design captures, stores, and treats rainwater and inserts it into pre-existing water networks. (www.casapucp.com)
The winner will receive a £10,000 prize from GROHE, the world's leading supplier of sanitary fittings, to support further research. The PUCP team beat a shortlist of 12 projects drawn from over 60 entries who were assessed by a panel of experts including Judge Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Kingdom of The Netherlands. Each entrant was asked to identify a new challenge or opportunity related to design and water, and in doing so advance an understanding of water in relation to the built environment. The prize money will supplement existing research that seeks to outline ways in which human settlements in the Amazon Rainforest can better adapt to their specific environmental and cultural context.
The design team’s focus was to overcome the challenges around the integration of water and sewage provision in the Peruvian Amazon, where only 31% of the population has access to water, despite living in an area with the highest levels of annual rainfall worldwide. Differing from a traditional water tank system, the PUCP team developed a system of tubes that capture, store and treat rainwater, and serve as a non-bearing curtain wall that occupies less space and can be more easily integrated with existing architecture. The number of tubes can be increased or decreased according to the user's water needs. The system also incorporates traditional architectural solutions, such as promoting permeable walls and facilitating cross-ventilation, allowing users to address the high temperatures of the Amazon without the need for artificial systems like air conditioning.
By designing an independent system from conventional networks, the designers sought to reduce the costs of implementation and maintenance that they generate. The system is also communal and not individual, therefore reducing costs per family. In the same way, its communal use promotes activities, such as washing clothes and cooking, that generate public platforms for inclusion and dialogue.
Paul Finch, Programme Director of World Architecture Festival commented: “Ingeniously addressing the ironic condition that communities in the Amazon do not have adequate water despite having the highest rainfall in the world, this proposed communal water management system admirably addresses both the social community and environment challenges interlinked with water shortage and quality. Plus, it is an adaptable idea, there is the ability to replicate the design in similar environmental terrains. It is a worthy winner of our inaugural WAF Research Prize.”
Belen Desmaison, Teaching Fellow at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, commented: “We are very grateful for this award as it will allow us and the communities in the Amazon Rainforest that work with us to continue to explore alternatives for the provision of water to peri-urban and rural areas. We aim to use this opportunity to work on the production of a rainwater storage system made using local materials and knowledge that can be easily integrated with traditional architectural typologies."
The prize was the first to be announced following the 2017 launch of the WAFX Manifesto, which identified the key challenges architects will need to address over the next ten years, including climate, energy and carbon; ageing and health; re-use; smart city technology; building technology; cultural identity; ethics and values; power and justice; and virtual worlds.
Michael Seum, Vice President Design at GROHE comments: “When first identifying projects with water scarcity issues I did not imagine that the Peruvian Amazon would feature on the shortlist. However, this carefully considered project highlights that less than a third of the population has access to water and the proposal of a communal water management system integrating pre-existing water networks sounds like a pragmatic and innovative solution. We are proud to present the £10,000 prize money to this research project.”
Rainwater Collection System as a Bioclimatic Curtain Wall for the Amazon Rainforest by Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
World Architecture Festival Reveals Shortlist For Inaugural Water Research Prize
World Architecture Festival (WAF) has revealed the shortlist for its inaugural Water Research Prize, supported by WAF founder partner GROHE. Twelve projects from over 60 entries have been shortlisted, and the winner will receive a £10,000 prize to support further research. Architects, designers and university teams sought to identify a new challenge or opportunity related to design and water, and in doing so advance an understanding of water in relation to the built environment.
The prize is the first to be announced following the 2017 launch of the WAFX Manifesto, which identified the key challenges which architects will need to address over the next ten years, including climate, energy and carbon; ageing and health; re-use; smart city technology; building technology; cultural identity; ethics and values; power and justice; and virtual worlds.
The shortlisted entries range from ideas about how to generate water from air in climates of extreme heat, to ways of using algorithms and data code to improve consistency of supply. Countries represented on the shortlist include Cameroon, Bolivia, India, South Africa, Peru, Nepal and the UK, with researchers from France, the Netherlands, Spain and the Middle East also featuring.
Water scarcity was a key focus of several entries. According to UNESCO, by 2025, 1.8 billion people are expected to be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under water stress conditions. The community implications of improving water supply in an integrated way was tackled by various project teams, for example in the Peruvian Amazon, where despite huge rainfall, there are huge numbers of people who lack access to fresh water, or in Ndomo, South Africa, where researchers want to examine how poor planning delivery downplayed smart environmental systems.
Several of the shortlisted entries focused on reversing disastrous natural or man-made degradation of water systems, for example the shrinking Lake Chad in central Africa, or the civic waterways in Kathamandu, Nepal. Whilst two entries focus specifically on how to construct, or reconstruct, community water systems, the radically different approaches reflect the unique requirements of their locations: Jodphur in India and the Isle of Sheppey in the UK respectively.
An intriguing set of proposals are not geographically specific but could have a general application in relevant parts of the world. These include proposals based on creating conditions where the ‘dew point’, the temperature at which moisture is generated from the atmosphere, can be exploited.
Paul Finch, Programme Director of World Architecture Festival commented: “Water scarcity, security and resilience are acutely pressing issues across the world, and innovative, forward-looking design solutions are vital in addressing them. “We had an amazing response from architects and universities when we launched the prize. Most of the 60 proposals we received featured interesting and innovative ideas, and the shortlist of 12 are exceptional, as is the geographical spread of the entries.”
Christopher Barger SVP Global Projects at GROHE comments: “At GROHE our philosophy is to support and celebrate the architect and design communities in pursuit of excellence. This, in combination with one of GROHE’s key pillars – sustainability – meant that it was a simple decision to financially support the Water Research Prize in order to invest some much needed research to identify a new challenge or opportunity related to design and water. We look forward to presenting the winner with the prize money, following the research and listening to its findings during WAF 2018.”
The full shortlist for the WAF Water Research Prize is:
- The Forgotten - Dead Or Alive: Will We Let The Lake Chad Die?
HKA | Hermann Kamte & Associates
Lake Chad - Africa
- Liquid Kingdom
Isle of Sheppey, Kent, UK
- Rainwater Collection System as a Bioclimatic Curtain Wall for the Amazon Rainforest
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
- Kathmandu’s Civic Waterway: From Holy River to Open Sewer and Back Again
Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources. Sir John Cass, School of Art, Architecture and Design.
London Metropolitan University
- Convert Existing Intermittent Supply Systems to Continuous Ones Through Reducing Optimisation Search Space Using GA
Development and Reconstruction Bureau
- STEEP AND DRY. RETAIN AND COLLECT
SoPA Social Practice Architecture
- Building resilience in extreme environments: water management strategies of desert societies
CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India
- NEXT EXTREME (Next generation infrastructure design under extreme conditions)
- Hydrating Jordan
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
- The Ndumo case study: Embedding sustainable design in human settlement type projects
Arch Urban Plan
Ndumo, South Africa