10th semester, February 2014
Supervisor: Katerina Liapi
This terminal studio regards the design of a water awareness center, and in particular awareness of seawater desalination’s importance in fighting water scarcity. The site is located on the island of Milos, the Greek island with the most advanced desalination plant in Greece. There, landscape interventions give emphasis on the upcoming source of potable water which is the sea itself.
Looking over the existing desalination methods, and their implementations in Greece, the desalination plant of Milos sticks out since it uses the Reverse Osmosis method, the most efficient desalination process in terms of energy consumption. In this way, these days, the vast majority of water amount needed for the island’s inhabitants and visitors are met by this plant alone.
However, the overall design of the plant, using prefabricated units, as well as the automation of the desalination process, using complicated machinery do not allow for an easy understanding of both the plant’s function, and its importance for the island.
Thus, raising awareness of the desalination’s vital role for the island seemed very crucial. At the same time, it seemed rather significant to contrast the two existing sources of water: on the one hand, the rain, which provides potable but small amounts of water, and on the other hand, the sea, that provides abundant saltwater.
To illustrate both of the above, a line was created, along which there is a series of outdoor exhibitions with desalination-related themes. Starting point of the linear course for the visitors is the outdoor exhibition named “Rain and Sea”. There, a series of alternating views of the sea and the mountain, carrying the water coming from the rain, provokes thoughts about the suitability of those two sources of an arid land like that of Milos.
In the next point of intervention, there is the outdoor exhibition named “Sea”. Here, detailed information on the various desalination methods is given.
The final point of this course, right next to the desalination plant, is the “Aqua-sition”, the simulation of the Reverse Osmosis Seawater desalination method. In order for the desalination process to be fully understood, each stage of this process is simulated in a different level, leading down to the sea-level. Beginning with a tank full of seawater at the highest point of the Aqua-sition, we are led down to the last point with two tanks, one for the brine, and another for the potable water. The desalination takes place in real-time, step-by step, right in front of the visitors’ eyes.
There, the visitors board on small boats and continue their course on the village across the sea. Located tight next to this village, guesthouses host groups of students or researchers that are interested in the desalination. Each guesthouse unit collects rainwater in an open tank that is part and parcel of the outdoor space between the units. The underground zone hosting the bathrooms is separated with the outdoor space by semi-transparent vertical tanks that collect greywater to be used for flushing and watering. All in all, the guesthouses are designed so that they fully exploit the water resources available on site in a way that this aspect of sustainability will be easily perceived by the visitors.
For a detailed presentation take a look here:
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