Our current water usage practices and consumption have run us into dire need for change: our over-usage from the Colorado River and depletion of groundwater resources have led us to draw out more than we can replenish, and this cycle is becoming increasingly more expensive.A solution to this from an architectural standpoint is to have the building work with the natural hydrological cycle of its respective site. In doing so, the building will not only benefit the environment of its site, but will provide the public with education on the need for greater
This thesis project first looks to the Living Building Challenge’s Water Petal framework as standards for this building to follow. The framework outlines that the building needs to be water positive, meaning all the water needs to be taken from the environment, run through the building, and discharged back out into the environment in a safe manner that benefits the local environment. To begin my research, I first looked to case studies of buildings that incorporate elements of the hydrological cycles of their sites, studying how these buildings function
efficiently without causing damage or depleting resources. The project then goes onto analyze the site on which the building will sit. The prototype building is located in Papago Park, facing the Papago Buttes. The building itself is a meditation pavilion, providing a place for visitors to rest and enjoy the beauty of the natural landscape.
In terms of the water systems at work in the building, the project acquires water through several means. The first is through rain, in which the building catches rainwater on slanted planes of the roof as well as through a ground filtration system within the landscaped zones surrounding the building. The water filters through the soil, through multiple filters and eventually to a large storage tank below. Water is also collected using existing bioswales lining the nearby canal to harness water as part of the building system. This water is also filtered and sent to the storage tank. Because of the weather patterns we have here in Arizona, the storage tank is very large, needing to hold about 3,000 gallons of water. This water is then ready to be used by toilets or irrigation, or treated one step further through the process of ozonation to be used for sinks and drinking fountains. The blackwater, or sewage water, then gets pumped through a
membrane bioreactor in which sludge is sent to an anearobic digester and the remaining water continues to a constructed wetland where it ends its journey. Along the way, this water is pumped through a shallow channel in the ground in which people within the building can view as it makes its way out to the wetland. Upon reaching the wetland, the water will eventually seep back into the ground, replenishing the natural water table and thus completing the full loop cycle
of the project.
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