Researchers from the University of Patras, Greece, have won this year’s £10,000 research prize to investigate how rainwater can be used to help cool facades of buildings in hot cities. The winners were announced as part of the WAFVirtual programme, which took place online last week.
The winning project is a suspended modular lightweight front system for evaporative cooling with harvested rainwater. The structure which can be retrofitted to existing building facades will now be developed with respective consultants. Rainwater will be collected in a roof-tank and used within the system which will spray some of it onto the building, while retaining as much water as possible. During the winter season the water is harvested in insulated tanks so that in the summer months the water can be used for multiple cooling purposes. The harvested water is then filtered and distributed to different building facilities including cooling systems, sprinklers, plants or even ponds supplied through a pump that is powered by solar panels.
Researchers Katherine A. Liapi and Kyra Papanikolau from the University of Patras say the new structure, which will serve as a prototype, ‘will combine art, technology, architecture, and mathematics’. In the future, it will be able to include planting to further support cooling strategies.
“What I like most about the winning entry is that it uses a clever blend of environmental and product design, and at its heart it promotes sustainability in dense urban environments”, says Patrick Speck, Leader LIXIL Global Design, EMENA and who makes up part of the judging panel.
Paul Finch, WAF Programme Director and member of the judging panel for the Water Research Prize adds, “We decided as a jury that this project was a worthy winner because it exploits the scarce resource of water in a creative way and promotes sustainability via a visually impressive facade.”
About WAF and the Water Research Prize
2018 marked WAF’s tenth anniversary with a manifesto identifying key challenges which architects will need to address over the next ten years. They highlighted ten issues: Climate, Energy and Carbon; Water; Ageing and Health; Re-use; Smart City Technology; Building Technology; Cultural Identity; Ethics and Values; Power and Justice; as well as Virtual World.
GROHE took over the sponsorship for the water category of the WAF Research Awards. Architects and other consultants or institutions will be able to compete for £10,000 of funding to help explore issues raised in the WAFX Manifesto in respect of water.
Pictured: Diagrams of the winning project show how the system will work efficiently.
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