2013 Skyscraper Competition
Zhang Zhiyang, Liu Chunyao
This project begins with the premise that Shanghai’s distribution of water resources is out of balance. The first problem is a lack of groundwater; according to the designers of the Water Re-balance tower, the people of Shanghai, in the quest for clean water, have taken so much water from under the city since 1860 that the city itself has sunk 1.7 meters in the past 40 years. Additionally, the water supplies that do exist today are largely polluted. Despite that shortage, the city does experience flooding in monsoon season, and the Suzhou River’s level can sometimes reach to the city’s streets.
By building towers that can collect and purify rainwater and also purify the water from the river, several advantageous things occur: clean, drinkable water is readily available for the city; rising river levels are mitigated before flooding occurs; and clean water can also be pumped back under ground to fix the sinking subsidence problem the city is experiencing. Further, the tower collects organic matter as it filters the water and uses that waste to develop and feed farmland, wetlands, and to grow green algae. The farm and wetlands purify the air, and the algae is cultivated and processed within the tower by a generator to create energy.
The tower is thin and is based underground, allowing the structure to pump collected and cleaned rainwater into the underground water table. From this base it spirals up and flowers at the top with a large platform that holds a green roof that collects the rainwater. After it is collected on top, water filters as it flows down through the tower, and is clean by the time it reaches ground level. There, a pump either directs the water for use by the city, or it is sent underground. Grey water is also captured and used to irrigate the vertical gardens throughout the structure. Turbines are also placed through the spiraling tower to generate energy with the water flow. That energy, plus that generated by the algae, creates enough to both power the tower itself and send energy back into the city.
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