For the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012, Studiomobile imagined a world where humans embraced the encroaching ocean as a new resource, rather than shrinking in retreat. Networking Nature is an ecosystem that lives off of seawater - and in turn produces fresh drinking water. The piece's glass tank is filled with ocean water, which is then transformed into fresh drinking water through a series of solar-powered stills. Heat produced by small lamps causes the seawater to evaporate, then the steam is condensed into fresh water, which is collected in tanks and distributed to those who need it.
Despite conservative attempts to stem sea level rise, the fact remains that unchecked climate change will result in a marked increase in ocean levels. This sea level rise puts millions of lives and homes in jeopardy – from the tiny island nations of the South Pacific, to the million dollar mansions of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Preparing for this change requires a willingness to adapt and become assimilated by the new ecosystems that will emerge in this salt-watery world.
Networking Nature isn’t just designed to provide individuals or families with fresh water – it’s meant to be part of a larger local water infrastructure. “It’s a Smart Water Network controlled by sensors that read the local lack of water and, through an Arduino board, activate the pumps providing the water where there is a peak of demand,” explain the designers. “The Smart Water Network will be a layer of the ecological network as well as the Smart Power Grid and the communications network. This strategy not only gives response to the preservation of the environment, but it is also a radically new model that ensures free and democratic access to the resources to everybody.”