Created by Arturo Vittori and his team at Architecture and Vision, the towers harvest water from rain, fog and dew. This isn’t a new idea—people have been doing this for as long as they’ve needed water, often with air wells. Often built as high-rising stone structures, air wells gather moisture from the air and funnel it into a basin for collection. The WarkaWater functions in much the same way, using mesh netting to capture moisture and direct it into hygienic holding tank accessed via a spout.
We wrote about the towers last year when Vittori unveiled a full-size prototype. The company has a newer version of the WarkaWater and a Kickstarter campaign to fund field testing in Ethiopia later this year. Based on tests performed in its Italian lab, the company claims the latest iteration can harvest 13 to 26.4 gallons of water daily. That’s less than most people flush away each day, but a significant quantity in a country where some 60 million people lack sufficient potable water.
The WarkaWater will cost around $1,000 to produce and requires no electricity. Vittori says it takes less than an hour to assemble the five modules into a finished tower, making it easily packed and moved as necessary. The practical goal is for the WarkaWater to become an efficient round-the-clock water production machine. But populating the landscape with alien towers is about more than just functionality, it’s about architecture. You can tell Vittori wanted to design something iconic, but beyond that is the tower’s potential to the social nexus of a village. With fabric canopies that stretch out like a peplum skirt, the towers could be a place where people gather to socialize and seek shelter from the sun, just as they would beneath a leafy Warka tree.