Posts Tagged ‘Water treatment’

Cleaning Europe’s waterways: the floating island of Physalia


Physalia on the Seine, Paris

Vincent Callebaut Architectures has designed Physalia, a floating structure that takes its name and shape from the Portuguese Man o’ War. It has, however, a friendlier purpose than its venomous, invertebrate namesake.

Variously described as an amphibious garden and a floating island, the structure is designed to sail down the polluted rivers of major European cities, purifying the water as it goes.


The East elevation: solar panels and vegetation

Entirely self-powered via solar panel cladding and pneumatic roof membranes, Physalia crafts are intended to help clean the Seine, Thames, Volga, Danube and Escaut using the following process:

  • The vessel has an aluminum surface covering its steel structure.
  • A titanium dioxide layer of anatase form reduces water pollution when reacting with ultraviolet rays.
  • In addition to being a self-cleaning vessel, it can absorb and recycle through a photo-catalytic effect.
  • Physalia’s double hull is criss-crossed by a hydraulic network that filters the fluvial water and purifies it biologically, thanks to its planted roof.

The deck of the vessel

Other projects have fused conceptual architecture with water purification systems: the Whitney Water Purification Facility and Park, designed by Steven Holl Architects, was chosen as one of the Top Ten Green projects for 2007 by the American Institute of Architects.

The ecofriend blog showcases another floating island used for water purification on a smaller scale: this one, in Poland, is powered by people on exercise bikes…

(Images by kind permission of Vincent Callebaut Architectures.)

ESI references


Building starts on The World islands


Computer rendition of The World archipelago

Having been suspended as a result of global recession, construction is now due to start on Dubai’s cluster of artificial islands, The World, writes the New Civil Engineer.

Project information from Wikipedia:

  • The development was originally conceived by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
  • The entire development covers an area 9km in length and 6km in width, surrounded by an oval-shaped breakwater.
  • The World islands are composed mainly of sand dredged from Dubai’s shallow coastal waters.
  • Land parcels are zoned for various uses: estate, mid density, high density, resorts and commercial.
  • Utilities are routed underwater, with water plants at each of the hubs pumping fresh water to the islands.
  • Wastewater and refuse systems are an individual concern for each island.
Picture 1

The World islands' first completed structure

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