World Water Day: 10 Projects that Exemplify Water Conservation

© Tim Griffith

In celebration of World Water Day, we have complied a list of ten environmentally conscious designs that epitomize the importance of water conservation. See what they have to offer, after the break.

World Water Day: 10 Projects that Exemplify Water Conservation - More Images+ 6

© Tim Griffith

California Academy of Sciences / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Not only does the undulating, green roof of Renzo Piano’s California Academy of Sciences building prevent 3.6 million gallons of runoff from carrying pollutants into the ecosystem each year (about 98% of all storm water), but it significantly reduces potable water use by using reclaimed city water to flush toilets, installing low-flow fixtures, and recycling sea water to and from the Pacific Ocean for the aquarium systems. 

© Maíra Acayaba

Firma Casa Store / SuperLimão Studio + Campana Brothers

Firma Casa redefines the “gutter”, as it features a living facade of over six thousand seedlings hanging in origami shaped aluminum vases that efficiently filter and drain rainwater from the roof. 

© Simon Devitt

Great Barrier House / Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

This quaint timber home in the Great Barrier Island of New Zealand comfortably integrates a variety of basic, yet effective sustainable strategies into the design, including the collection and natural heating of rainwater in two large cisterns situated towards the back of the home.  

© César Rubio, courtesy William McDonough + Partners

NASA Sustainability Base / William McDonough + Partners and AECOM

This high-performance space station goes beyond LEED® Platinum in its pursuit of Cradle to Cradle® solutions that include the creation of a closed loop system that ensures water that falls on the site will leave at the same rate, volume and cleanliness of predevelopment conditions.

© Timothy Hursley

Eco Modern Flats / Modus Studio

This ecologically conscious renovation, known as Arkansas’s first LEED Platinum multifamily residence, proudly displays shared rainwater cisterns between each apartment building of the 96-unit complex.  

Courtesy of Perkins+Will

VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre / Perkins+Will

Form follows function for this environmentally sensitive visitor center in Vancouver, as the lush undulating roof’s is shaped to maximize rainwater collection. All water is reused in the building, while greywater and blackwater are treated in an on-site facility. 

© Paul Bardagjy

Edgeland House / Bercy Chen Studio

Inspired by the vernacular of the ‘pit house’, this brownfield reclamation project returns the site back to nature with a varitety of sustainable measures including effective rainwater collection and a ‘smart pool’ that is used as an additional thermal mass that plays a role in home’s hydronic system. 

© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

Bilbao Arena / ACXT

This ArchDaily Building of the Year award winner sports an indoor cistern that effectively stores rainwater, which retrieves the plant substrate by capillary action and makes irrigation unnecessary.

Courtesy of Perkins + Will

1315 Peachtree / Perkins+Will

To address the region’s water issues, Perkins + Will’s Atlantic office not only replaced hardscaping with pervious materials but harvests rainwater within a 10,000 gallon cistern, which it is then filtered and treated onsite and used for 100% of their restroom flush fixtures and landscape irrigation. Overflow water is channeled under the plaza where it is filtered before naturally being allowed to recharge our aquifers.

© David Sundberg/Esto

Hotchkiss Biomass Power Plant / Centerbrook Architects and Planners

Almost disappearing into the landscape, this 16,500 square foot structure is topped with a vegetated roof that effectively absorbs and filters rainwater runoff.

Click on the images for more information about each project.

About this author
Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "World Water Day: 10 Projects that Exemplify Water Conservation" 22 Mar 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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