2008 Skyscraper Competition
Alberto Fernández, Susana Ortega
Huasco City is a port in the north of Chile. The city is a place of important agricultural development thanks to the Huasco River, but in the last decade the water flux decreased, which will probably lead to agriculture disappearance in the near future. A new strategy is required to obtain water from the Atacama Desert. In this place there is a climatic phenomenon called Camanchaca, dense coastal fog that has dynamic characteristic: condensation at great heights that is carried towards coastal zones by strong wind currents. Its origin is in the anticyclone of the Pacific Ocean that produces a layer of stratocumulus, covering the coastal strip from Peru to northern Chile. The base of the cloud is at 400 meters (with a variation of 200 meters) above sea level. The second layer contains minerals from the sea, in lower concentration than sea water.
The idea is to build towers that collect water from these clouds and provide it to new agricultural land along the coast. The towers are 400 meters-high, and designed to catch water particles in the air that come from the coast to the Valley of the Huasco River. The anticipated performance, ranges from two to ten liters per square meter of vertical surface. Each tower has 10,000 square meters of vertical surface, producing a minimum of 20,000 liters per day, and an impressive maximum of 100,000 liters. There will be enough water to start agriculture in this arid coastal region.
The tower is composed of four components with specific functions:
1. Four sides of high density plastic meshes that serve as water collectors.
2. Four sides of low density meshes (copper) that link the spiral arms.
3. Four spiral arms that serve as structure and transport the collected water into the main cistern.
4. A main cistern located in the base and divided in three parts: a water accumulator in the upper face, a multi-composite filter membrane in the middle, and a circulatory system that distributes the purified water.