DesignInc's otherworldly Water Factory Vortex Center in Gippsland, Australia is made up of seven barrels that fit into each other to mimic the movement of water as it runs down a pipe. The 650 square meter energy-efficient facility forms part of the Gippsland Water Factory-water recycling plant recently completed near Morwell that aims to teach locals about the importance of conserving water - one of Earth’s most precious natural resources.
The building’s shape mimics the giant oculus structure that hangs off the side of a massive membrane bioreactor tank within the Water Factory. It sits on an artificial lake that it utilizes to cool the interior during summer. Cool water is drawn from the bottom of the lake and passed through heat exchangers to deliver cool air into the building. Waste heat from a biogas-powered cogeneration system is used to keep the interior of the building warm during cold winters.
The cooling system, along with other passive mechanisms such as natural ventilation and thermal convection, lower the center’s energy consumption, while transparent pneumatic ETFE cushions incorporated into the façade allow it to “breathe,” adjust to different outside temperatures and exclude sunlight if necessary.
Photos by ReflectionsPhotography