Rain Collecting Skyscraper Cuts Water Usage

By Steph

Gutters aren’t pretty. Most architects, given the choice, try to find a way to conceal them so they don’t turn an elegant roofline into a clunky mess. But when it comes to the ‘Capture the Rain’ skyscraper, gutters are perhaps the most important element of the structure, and they’ve been integrated in a way that makes them a design statement of their own accord.

Designed by Polish architecture students Ryszard Rychlicki and Agnieszka Nowak, ‘Capture the Rain’ aims to harvest enough rainwater to supplement the daily needs of its 500 residents. Calculating the amount of water consumed by one person on a daily basis and comparing it to average annual rainfall in New York, the designers determined that with a large enough roof surface, they could reduce water usage by over 25%.

The core of the building is essentially a funnel, with a concave rooftop that acts as a pool for rainwater. Beneath the roof is large reservoir, from which water is sent into reed fields for natural filtering. The gutters that swirl around the exterior of the building, modeled on the ribbed surface of a leaf, collect additional water which is pumped from an underground tank up to the rooftop filtering system.

The designers imagine that this harvested rainwater could be used for such purposes as cleaning, watering plants and flushing toilets. Municipal water would be reserved for drinking, cooking and bathing. Such designated usage, say the architects, could help Americans get unsustainable water consumption habits under control.


Floating Green Home Sets Sail w/ Solar Panel Power System

One of the biggest problems of truly living on the water is, of course, power: where do you plug in your floating home when you are off on an adventure, or simply spending some time a little ways out from the shore? Solar power is an obvious solution to living off the grid and on the ocean, but this design is stunning even aside from its sustainable off-the-grid energy strategies.

This award-winning design from RAFAA Architecture & Design has not only already won awards but – unlike so many similar visionary concept designs – is also scheduled for actual mass-production, so you should be able to buy (or at least rent) one in the next few years. Its shape is both seductive but also sensible – a creative blend of boating curves and house-like walls, livable layouts and functional floor plans.

It has two floors – a lower level with the mechanical, plumbing and other behind-the-scenes systems that make the boat work and a second story with living, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom spaces (divided by screens and partition walls as needed from one another).

The title has a bit of a wordplay mystery: called the “Last Resort”, this floating house is perhaps a safer way to escape the end of the world than a land-locked bomb shelter would be, though, and certainly more stylish setting from which to watch the planet implode.