In the spirit of Daekwon Parks’ stunning sustainable Symbiotic Superstructure, we’re continuing coverage of the eVolo Skyscraper Design Competition with another incredible entry. This dispatch from the future of skyscraper technology takes us to the northern coast of Chile, where Alberto Fernández and Susana Ortega have conceived of a Fog Tower that absorbs and channels water from its mist enshrouded environs. This pristine helical structure would allow for the development of a sustainable agriculture environment at the edge of the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth.
One of the most promising approaches to sustainable architecture is the design of structures that benefit from the unique profile of their immediate environment. Whether it be south-facing solar panels or strategically located wind turbines, maximum efficiency is achieved by making the best of a range of environmental factors.
The Coastal Fog Tower is highly specialized in this approach, utilizing a type of fog unique to Chile called “camanchaca“. This dense variety of coastal fog has dynamic characteristics: stretching from Peru to the northern Chilean regions, it condenses into a low-lying coastal cloud layer (200-400m above ground) that pushes inland with the wind.
Standing 400 meters tall, Fernández and Ortega’s seaside spire is a cloud catching marvel that stands to harvest airborne water molecules in the Huasco River valley. Its construction as a stacked weave serves to trap and wick moisture into the tower, while its spiraling structure provides a large surface area that funnels water into the basement. Here, trace minerals from the sea are filtered out via a reverse osmosis system, which is much more efficient than processing sea water into potable water via desalination plants. The end result is a water distribution system with a planned performance of 2-20 liters per square meter of vertical surface, producing from 20,000 to 200,000 liters of water per day.
Fog catching technology has already been deployed in some areas of Chile, providing a vital resource to communities that need it. The scale and distribution of these cloud castles could take this technology into the future – a seaside vista interspersed with these pristine helical towers would certainly be a sight to behold.