Design Challenge Finalist: Deployable Purification System

H2O: potable, then portable

Creators: Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects
Community: Areas lacking clean drinking water
Project: Deployable freshwater systems

This inflatable unit acts as a water-filtration station, emergency information display and makeshift shelter. It has four layers. The outermost one is a film of organic light-emitting diodes that displays emergency information. The next layer--a lattice composed of multi-layered PVC tubes, thermoplastic resin, carbon fibers and bladders, is inflated during installation and provides structural integrity. The third layer is a reverse-osmosis filtration system. Salty or contaminated ground or river water is filtered and desalinized in this layer. Drinkable water from this layer empties into the final layer--the water collection bladders. When the bladders are full of clean water, they can be removed and worn as a vest for easy portability (far right). The system also includes 2,000 water purification tablets and 500 filters adaptable to a variety of faucets.

by Smith-Miller + Hawkinson

Smith-Miller + Hawkinson

After Inflation

Smith-Miller + Hawkinson

Initial Setup

Smith-Miller + Hawkinson

Air Drop

Smith-Miller + Hawkinson

by Smith-Miller + Hawkinson

Plastic bladders filled with clean water hang from the interior of the desalinization unit. People in need of drinking water simply pluck a full one, fold it over their shoulders, then wear it home like a vest.Smith-Miller + Hawkinson