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Architectural Installation Purifies Water Over New Yorkers' Heads

Rebecca OConnell
Miguel de Guzmán, Imagen Subliminal
Miguel de Guzmán, Imagen Subliminal / Miguel de Guzmán, Imagen Subliminal

Architect Andrés Jaque has debuted a new installation in the MoMA PS1 courtyard. Jaque is the 2015 winner of MoMA PS1's annual Young Architects Program, which lets young creators build temporary structures outside the institution. 

Jaque's project is called COSMO, and it aims to change the way people look at and think about infrastructure. Right now, New York City's pipelines are all underground—out of sight and out of mind. The young architect wants us to confront this ignorance by making the way we get power and water more visible. His solution: a beautifully complex water purification system that New Yorkers can interact with.

The "movable artifact" can filter 3000 gallons of water in a four-day cycle. Dirty water is poured into eight tanks where it mingles with woodland plants to promote denitrification. The water is then pushed through tubes where it is exposed to ultraviolet light and algae. It goes through three waterfalls and more vegetation to further filtering. The resulting water has a balanced pH level, a higher level of dissolved oxygen, and no impurities.

Jaque believes that in the future, architects will create similar works that let people interact with their resources. Instead of hurting the environment, future buildings could work with harmoniously with nature.

“The divorce between infrastructure and biodiversity has come to an end,” he said. “COSMO is kind of an anticipation of what will be the future of machinery.”

The unique water purifying structure will be on display at PS1 until September 7th, 2015.

Miguel de Guzmán, Imagen Subliminal

Miguel de Guzmán, Imagen Subliminal

Miguel de Guzmán, Imagen Subliminal