Here’s a Novel Green-Building Material: Water!
Water may not be the first thing you think of when you are looking for a sound building material, but Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe and Associates has just won third place in the Miami Water Box competition for designing a structure using it.
The floating platform is a sound stage for concerts. When there are no musicians on it ready to perform, the water simply falls on all four sides, creating a curtained space, suggesting a theater with the curtains ready to rise.
The water can be directed to create privacy screens within the cube, providing space for costuming changes, and to deliver the next set of performers.
The unique quality of water to absorb and mask sound and it’s amazing reflective and refractive qualities allow it to enhance the experience with displays.
A simple steel cube shape is outlined in steel pipes holding a plexiglass reservoir along the top edges. Water is pumped up the corner pipes and then gravity + water naturally create the “walls” as water flows down over the edge, back into the bay.
When the performance starts, the front “curtain” is dammed off, so that it appears that the curtain has risen, and a huge image of the performers can be projected up on all three of the remaining sides, ensuring that spectators on both banks can see the performance.
And between performances, the cube is just a simple manmade water cube, looking like a modern version of a fountain, and reminiscent of all the other ways that we have used water through history, as fountains, and by redirecting its flows, as a source of energy, or for irrigation.
Until this rather novel use of water as a sound stage, though, water has not been used as an actual building material.