Working Water

Houston, Texas is at risk for running out of water.

Today, 71% of our water supply comes from our recreational lakes. These lakes are fed by drought-prone rivers that often become overstressed from trying to supply water to multiple large Texas cities. Additionally, the city has been restricted from using the Jasper Aquifer because so much water was being drained it caused a rise in sea levels.

With a growing population, the amount of water needed is only going to amplify. This project explores ways in which architecture and design can help reduce our impact and bring awareness to these issues.

Site Adjacencies

The site is located next to multiple multi-family complexes, along with different types of restaurants, bars, and retail. This creates a neighborhood feel in a predominantly commercial downtown district.

The architecture opens towards market square allowing for a connection to the park at the pedestrian level. Additionally, the site is in close proximity to buffalo bayou and all of the future developments for that area.

Houston Map 2015

Rooftop Rainwater Catchments

Rooftop catchments are the simplest and most common type of system used. High rise buildings are ideal for this type of system because they have less chance of catching debris; however, depending on how much water storage is desired, additional systems may be needed.WORKING WATER Page 005

Facade Catchment System

Because wind usually occurs with rain, the majority of rainfall hits the facade of the building as opposed to the roof. By integrating a catchment system within the exterior mullions, the building is able to catch and store more water for use while also preventing the majority of water runoff. System design as seen in this Google patent.WORKING WATER Page 006

Building Orientation

For most of the year, wind is hitting the building from the east. By twisting the building facade, a relationship to these wind patterns is established. This not only encourages the movement of water downwards but also provides an aesthetic representation of the forces at work.WORKING WATER Page 007

Building Typology

Hotel and residential types rank among the highest for water usage intensity because of everyday necessities such as showering, laundry, dishwashing and also for amenities like pools, fitness centers, and spas. This makes them the perfect candidate for this exploration.

With a hotel, we can create an aesthetic around water that provides an attraction for visitors and also a unique quality that the hotel can use for branding purposes.

Building Program

See links for sketch process :

Form Ideas / Form ideas 2 / Sketch form / rainwater harvesting research / Catchment fins / Water system integration


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