Darfur has long been plagued by significant droughts, however in 2007 scientists at Boston University discovered the region has one of the biggest underwater lakes in the world. Putting these two facts together, Polish firm H3AR designed an incredible water-harvesting skyscraper that would draw h2o from underground and create an artificial lake!
Darfur’s underground lake covers a distance of 19,110 square miles and has the potential to restore peace to a region ravaged by drought, however providing access to all that water has proven difficult. H3AR‘s Watertower aims to tap this resource through good design and effective water management. The skyscraper would work as a hospital, a school, a food storage center, and most importantly, a water storage center.
The building resembles a baobab, the “upside down tree” from the Savanah, and it houses water pumps and a treatment plant. These pumps take the water from the aquifer, pump it throughout the building to heat it and cool it, and store it within the core of the building itself. The building’s users would then have access to this water, which would be recycled by the treatment plant.
H3Ar’s plan calls for three towers to be built. The towers would be constructed from stacked dry clay bricks, which would be manufactured on site. Why bricks? They can be manufactured locally, are a sustainable building material, and are tied to the local community. The bricks would be made with a mixture of earth, cement, and water. The shape of the towers provides shade on the ground, stabilizing the microclimate, and between them an artificial lake would be created. This artificial lake would further assist in creating solace amid the harsh African environment.
H3Ar, have certainly created a very cool design to solve an extremely difficult problem. While still a concept at the moment, the project provides a reminder that good design can have far-reaching consequences.