California is suffering through its 5th year of severe water shortage. Aquifers and rivers continue to dry out as the water provided by melting snowpacks is reduced, and even the heavy rain brought by El Niño this year could not relieve the drought. Authorities are wary of the long-term consequences for California and neighboring areas of the Colorado River, and Santa Monica is now seeing a growing number of initiatives to control the use of potable water and find sustainable solutions. Most recently, a competition asked architects, artists and scientists to conceive sustainable infrastructure projects to improve Santa Monica’s water supply. Bart//Bratke and studioDE developed a raft structure named “Foram” that illustrates the future of floating platforms in sustainable development. Foram aims to desalinate sea water while providing a structure to educate people about water shortages. It is an amphibious pavilion supported on polyethylene boxes that floats along the Santa Monica coastline. The structure swells out into three “functional pockets” where visitors can learn about access to drinking water and the process of water purification. Each of the three protruding areas hosts a distinct activity – an eatery with self-grown food, a space for learning, and another for urban farming. At the pavilion’s center, a water bar also serves freshly desalinated H₂O.
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