The spiralling towers created by Alberto Fernández and Susana Ortega capture the moisture from the clouds of the “Camanchaca”, a coastal fog originating from the anticyclone of the Pacific. The towers are planned for the dry coastal fringe of Chile where agriculture is constrained by water scarcity. Since winning a Next Generation prize in 2008, the concept has been further developed with funding from the Chilean Government and from the United Nations. The construction of the towers was adapted from the original design to interconnect the structure and the fabric, which accelerates the construction process.
The innovative design of the 9-10m high prototype towers condense water particles from the fog and then conduct the water to a tank at the base of the tower using only wind and gravity. The spiral structure contains plastic meshes stretched over a wooden frame using 3D printed connectors reinforced by CNC laser cut plates. The water is then filtered before use, with each tower capable of producing 100L/day.
The adapted version of the concept was exhibited in the Innovation Market at the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns held in Bilbao, Spain in April 2016. Architect Alberto Fernández – now a Professor of Architecture at the University of Chile – had won the Archiprix International 2007 for best graduation project in 2005/06 with the project.
In full production, the towers will stand 400m tall: a seaside spire that harvests airborne water molecules in the Huasco River valley. The end result is a water distribution system with a planned performance of 2-20L/m2 of vertical surface, producing from 20,000 to 200,000L of water per day.