_Premise & Proposal
Hydromimicry aims to reduce the reliance on energy-intensive mechanical climate control systems by integrating a passive evaporative cooling system within a building skin. Simultaneously it incorporates an innovative water collector based on the efficient processes that exist in the natural world. Thus the scheme exemplifies a sustainable and environmentally responsible approach to living in a context of global warming and resource depletion. This proposal envisages the real possibility of zero-carbon, self-sufficient future communities
With the potential for freshwater collection, provision of agricultural facilities, and harnessing the energy of the desert sun through solar panels, the façade enables the creation of self-sustaining oases in the desert. Inspired by climate-specific biodiversity as well as adapting other complimentary biomimetic phenomena, Hydromimicry attempts to redefine the potential of architectural façade systems within increasingly arid climates.
The façade can be implemented to create a range of habitable communities with self-regulating internal temperatures and access to captured water in desert environments, countering both the excessive desalination process and the provision of water in areas of scarcity.
The environmental control arrangement is envisioned as functioning similarly to natural ecosystems and following patterns of development similar to life across all scales. The closed loop system draws from sustainable natural resources in order to provide for all of its necessary functions. This system is able to improve and expand through incorporation of other configurations to develop into a more productive collaborative model much like the symbiotic relationships exhibited in the natural world. The profitable nature of the system also allows for replication of the scheme, which mimics cellular mitosis.
Global climate change will increase evapotranspiration, lower precipitation, and result in more protracted droughts in arid desert climates. Water conservation in these environments is a global issue, with growing populations and rising temperatures the problem necessitates a potential solution that can be incorporated into architecture.
Hydrophilic apertures in the two outer mesh layers encapsulate the water gathered from the overnight fog through condensation and capillary action. As the apertures are filled, it creates an air pocket between the layers providing additional insulation during the cold nights. Excess water runs down the hydrophobic mesh into a reservoir storage or use within other facilities.
In scenarios of direct solar gain, a portion of collected water is passed through the mesh causing it to expand. This expansion closes the mesh apertures decreasing internal solar gain whilst heating the water contained within the mesh for use within the applied building’s services. The trapped water pockets gradually dissipate over the course of the day and the cycle restarts during the night.
The process is predominantly inspired by the water harvesting abilities of the Namibian Fog Basking Beetle, which extracts moisture from humid air in water deficient areas. A photochromic and thermochromic façade takes inspiration from the chameleon, altering the colour and opacity in response to direct sunlight and heat, allowing for an adaptive reaction to control solar gain.