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

After Inflation

Initial Setup

Air Drop

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.