In response to the severe water shortage that recently gripped Cape Town, South African-born designer Shaakira Jassat of Studio Sway has developed Aquatecture, a building facade panel designed to harvest rainwater runoff as well as moisture from the atmosphere. Developed with modern, urban settings in mind, the modular panels feature a compact profile and stainless steel construction with attractive perforations made for optimal rainwater collection.
Jassat’s focus on innovative, water-conserving design are in part inspired by the fears of Day Zero — a reference to the day when severe water shortage would force municipal water supplies to be switched off — and threats of reoccurring droughts throughout South Africa. “As the threat to earth’s natural resources rises exponentially, our ‘available-on-demand’ mentality needs to change,” the designer said. Jassat’s recent projects “reconsider the value of water” and range from a small-scale tea machine that condenses water vapor from the air to the large-scale Aquatecture rain-catching panels.
To combat potential drought, Jassat proposes equipping buildings with Aquatecture panels to collect falling rainwater that is then funneled into a tank and pumped back into the building’s gray water system for later use. The panel’s perforated pattern not only takes aesthetics into account, but it is also designed to optimize rainwater collection. The slim profile of the panels would also make it easy to insert into dense urban environments.
Research models of the Aquatecture panels and Jassat’s other works were recently presented at Dutch Design Week. Jassat, who is presently based in the Netherlands, was also selected to participate in the Bio Art Laboratories in Eindhoven and has been studying the water-harvesting characteristics of air plants as part of an ongoing ‘Embracing Water’ project in urban environments.
Photography by Ronald Smits, Angeline Swinkels and Alexandra Hsu via Studio Sway