Design Crew for Architecture have created an incredible water purifying skyscraper that looks like dozens of soapy bubbles stacked one on top of another. According to the design brief, “There is only about 1% left of liquid freshwater and the UNO and the World Water Council estimates there might be a crisis affecting half the worldwide population by 2030.” Capable of making freshwater efficiently and sustainably using a series of bubbles filled with water-filtering mangroves, the unconventional building pushes the envelope of what a skyscraper is capable of doing.
Unlike a traditional skyscraper, the freshwater factory is proposed not for the city but for the Almeria province of Spain for its sunny weather and favorable growing conditions. A special mention in the 2010 eVolo Skyscraper competition, the bulbous building would house a freshwater factory filled with mangroves that would convert saltwater into drinking water which could then be used to grow food crops.
In order to facilitate water purification, the tower will be made up of several circular tanks filled with brackish water (water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater), which will be enclosed in spherical greenhouses. Using tidal powered pumps, the brackish water will be brought up into the tower and circulate through the mangrove plants, which have the unique ability to thrive on brackish water and perspire freshwater. The freshwater sweat then evaporates and condensates into dew on wall of the greenhouse and is collected in a freshwater tank. The resulting freshwater can then be distributed to the fields using gravitational flow.
According the designers, one hectare of mangroves should be able to produce 30,000 liters of freshwater a day. In other words, the tower would be able to irrigate a one-hectare field of tomatoes per day.