The Atacama Desert is in an unusual position: it is right next to the pacific ocean, but it also happens to be one of the driest places on earth. Despite its proximity to water, the area is constantly parched and its people are always at risk of drought. To address this, Yeonkyu Park, Kwon Han, Hyeyeon Kwon, and Hojeong Lim put their heads together to create the Mist Tree, a skyscraper built into the Andes Mountains that is able to harvest water from fog moving through the Chilean air.
The desert is flanked on each side by tall mountain ranges, which prevents the water from traveling in the air from the ocean to the area. However, an untapped resource called the Camanchaca could potentially ease the drought situation. The Camanchaca is a thick fog that comes off of the Pacific and onto the land, but never reaches the desert because of the mountains.
In order to overcome this mountainous barrier, the Mist Tree would act as a sort of water filter, grabbing water from the air and sending into the dry desert. The façade of the building acts as a net— much like a spider web, it catches dew from the air and allows the moisture to build up on the structure. To make this happen, the building is heated on the interior using sunlight captured by large glass openings. Once the moisture accumulates, it is fed down the “tree” and into the Atacama area to provide water.
The Mist Tree is part of the eVolo Skyscraper Competition for 2013 and won an honorable mention in the contest. A tower with a similar concept was proposed in 2008 and took third place that year. The competition was established in 2006 and since then has been used to recognize innovation in the field of vertical architecture.