Reclaiming Rising Waters: DLC Competition

Here’s a throwback from a design competition I entered with my buddy Nathan last year, which for some reason I didn’t post here at the time.  It was an internal competition within the firm, and one of 70-ish total entries.  We collaborated between offices in two different cities, and is the first of (hopefully) many Team Cactus ventures.

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Three zones address dry, rainy, and flood conditions.  Using water as a catalyst for program activation, the architecture retains water in the wet season to purify and re-release during drought.reclaiming rising waters2

Primary Principles and Zoning

Zone 1: Dry Season

The lowest of the three river inlets, this zone is always activated and lets in water year-round.  Its focus is study, research, and student activities; it is the primary building location and encourages stable, year-round activities.

Zone 2: Rainy Season

The river inlet diverts some water during the rainy season and higher water levels.  This water is collected, purified via an underground bioreactor on-site, and then slowly reintroduced to the local water cycle via shallow reflecting pools.  This region is most activated during the wet season and post-wet-season water processing times.

Zone 3: Flood

A cactus Zen garden during the dry season, Zone 3 also acts as an emergency inlet and flood mitigation system during exceptional storms.  The gravel surface filters debris and water is stored in a series of cisterns on site, as well as redirecting to off-site systems.

Site as a Root Network:

The site of impact is far greater than the building’s footprint.  Through flood mitigation, drought prevention tactics, and irrigation systems with adjacent sites, water can be effectively retained and redistributed as seasons require.

Rainwater as Expansion Trigger:

With rising and falling rainwater levels, areas adopt programmatic shifts.  With the rain comes an expansion of “activated” areas both on and off-site through a network of similarly proactive buildings.

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Techniques and Features

Anti-Runoff Apertures:

Rectangular drains run perpendicular to water flow, allowing water collection and reducing erosion.

Primary Water Storage:

Functional year-round, water testing and purification begins in Zone 1.

Underground Laboratory:

With direct access to the river for scientists and students to pursue their studies.

Student Spaces:

Abundant in light and visual access to the river and water conditions.

Green Wall Hydroponics:

Hyper-efficiently retains water and provides vertical greenscape.

Bioreactor Processing, Final Phase:

UV light exposure kills the remaining bacteria after the primary cleaning process has been completed.

Reflecting Pools:

Shallow pools slowly reintroduce clean water to the local water cycle during drought.

Water Retention:

Mimicking the behavior of desert plans, the site absorbs excess water during flood seasons and then slowly redistributes it into the surroundings.

Initial Filtration:

Cactus Zen garden in the dry season, water filtration system during flood season; the gravel underlay collects debris and slows water entering the cisterns.

Deep Water Pylon Foundation:

Additional water storage and simultaneous cooling method, storing water deep into the earth while providing a deep building foundation.

reclaiming rising waters

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