brkt: drawing two [enabling]

November 30, 2008

Explicating the method of fog farming and potential applications for water derived.  I think this focuses on the enabling properties of the infrastructure, bracketing both the generative qualities (generative qualities I think would probably include the architectural qualities of the infrastructure, as well, as noted here with thoughts on tube perception) and strategies for deployment.

Components of the drawing, then:

1. the fog farm

a. structure for harvesting
in terms of material construction, this would be a typical fog farming setup.
study of three types of fog nets in Oman

2. uses of water

a. algae tubes

should include some indication of what the algae tubes are, as well as subuses.

i. algae create power

ii. cleaned water can be used for other (2) uses

b. growing plants

c. drinking water

diagram of the diagram [which is not intended to show graphic intent; nor is that sickly green color on the left something i was going for.  cmyk–>rgb fail]:


[this page supersedes “the technique of fog farming”, I think]

brkt: luanda images

November 28, 2008

The Luanda Wiki page has some nice hi-res views
link to google map of Luanda with images

Some standouts from the google map I’d like to keep track of:

aerial 1

a couple more:

dry lake:
this is not a good source of drinking water:

brkt: luanda videos

November 28, 2008

has HQ version @ youtube


great, but skip the first 3:40


awesome, and HQ version @ youtube


this is probably enough for now, there are a ton more – especially ones from windows of hotels, and on taxis.

brkt: planting strategies 1

November 24, 2008

potential vegetative uses for moisture generated by fog farming:

1. to grow green roofs

2. to grow food

3. to nourish plants which hold back the desert:



[images from The Sahara: An Ever Present Challenge, a document about using vegetation to halt or restrict the growth of desert.]

on primary succession on coastal dunes in England (a different problem, but related)

a book on coastal dunes that may or may not be worth tracking down, depending on whether this becomes part of the project or not.

an article from israel on the ecology of dunes.  quite useful.

brkt: inspirations 2

November 23, 2008

1. the souk

How hard is it to see green (and pink, and blue, etc.) instead of brown overhead?  Not very.  People have been putting screens overhead for thousands of years in the desert to create public space.  No need to reinvent this wheel when we could just bite it.

Stan Allen’s souk project also comes to mind (in that book, but not available to browse online).


Extremely applicable to Nouakchott, Dubai, elsewhere with Arab architectural influence.   Potentially applicable elsewhere.

2. MOS/flip a strip

I think its easy to see an area-based collection system and an algae system being integrated into a single super-surface along the lines of MOS’s flip a strip entry (obviously MOS’s was only an algae-power system, not a fog farmer).  This would be either be an alternative or a parallel construction to an overhead algae pipe-surface.


well, and I’m pretty sure even this project is made up of tubes, even though they are expressing the tubes as panels in the renderings…

Thinking more about it, something demonstrated by the juxtaposition of the MOS renderings with the close-up view of the overhead screen is how much potential there is for us to play with the density, size, and distribution of tubes to effect different perpections of them as a surface.  This is true when considering them in terms of a still image, like the two above, but also when you consider viewing them (especially if they are layered) while moving – I’m thinking here of looking at rows of vertical stakes used in vineyards, and the sort of effects created when you watch them from a moving car for example.  If we decide to push a tube-centric fog+algae system, we ought to look at the ways simple manipulations of tubes can create complex variations in how our tubular-topology (!) is understood.  It could be for as simple a task as framing views according to one’s position or speed; or it could be something more complex, especially when integrated with studies of the milieu between our tubepology (too much?) and the urban fabric.


a. pulling water out of the air
seems like there are two methods of fog farming:

1. relies on cooling air to produce condensation

(a) examples:

– windcatchers:


A traditional Persian architectural device, used in conjunction with subterranean qanats.

While this article suggests that the windtraps (windcatchers) are used for producing water, I think they were more typically used to cool air for climate control and refrigiration:

“Windtraps for water production have been used here on Earth for thousands of years. They are pyramid shaped strutures made out of loose stones so that the wind can blow through them. They work best in desert areas where the difference between day and night temperatures is 30 degrees or more. Moisture in the air condenses on the stones as they are cooled at night like the condensation on a glass of cold water. It drips down and collects in a catchbasin. These devices worked even when the humidity was very low.”

– “WaterMill”

uses a small amout of electricity for refrigeration, see bldgblog

– Whisson windmill

not sure about this one, but here is a link.

2. relies on using a large surface area plus natural condensation (dewing) to trap water

(a) examples:

– fog nets (see older post)

b. what happens to the water after it is condensed?

1. used to feed algae tubes; this would (a) purify the water through biological process (b) produce energy perhaps as well (c) provide shade (providing shade is probably more properly a thought about the affective qualities of the tubes).

Does the potential ease of collecting solar energy in these locales advocate against (because the algae tubes would be unnecessary/redundant) or for (because algae, of course, also depend on solar energy) the use of algae for energy production?  I’m not sure.  I tend to think its a wash.

2. feeds into planting, potentially rooftop planting or other a form of agriculture; this does not require purification, as plants would perform the purification.

3. ultraviolet purification system, a la watermill

4. How does the post-condensation use of the water relate to the urban system?  That is, how is it programmed to effect desirable changes?  For instance, the availability of clean and pure drinking water or potable water for gardening might be social justice issues in a city such as Dubai or Nouakchott.

associated content:
initial post on fog farming

brkt: inspirations 1

November 23, 2008

elegant, and refined:




mammoth creators of the world

November 23, 2008

Byron Bay, Australia

apparently, we are not the only ones – just the most frugal.

back to bracket:
12:04 PM worth playing with for projected populations:
(select cities, and then a country or multiple countries)
12:08 PM so i think we plot cities from that list over this map:
12:09 PM and then we figure out something about airborne moisture (fog)
and there it is
site selection
12:10 PM might collate this plus what we’ve gone over later on mammoth
me: which could make a beautiful introductory map
Rob: exactly

Rob: posted: cities under consideration, drawing one
i might leave a summary of the project direction up to you
2:06 PM unless i get amibitious today/tomorrow
2:09 PM me: nah, id like to give it a shot if thats alright
can you wait until the weekend for it?
2:10 PM Rob: for sure
its a busy weekend
2:11 PM and thursday night and friday
so it will be no problem to wait
me: cool, ill go through todays chats and get something together
Rob: sounds good
me: im amped
Rob: this city i posted… its ill
me: this project is going to be a lot of fun
Rob: google around it a bit if you need a break from portfolio’ing
me: im going to take a look now
i can’t help myself
shitty figure but: “places where fog harvesting has been or can be implemented”
2:15 PM Rob: yeah
i think i see a couple dots just up the coast from mauritania
2:16 PM that page has a very good list of factors to consider in siting fog harvesting programs, as well
2:17 PM me: yeah
2:18 PM ill make sure and archive it
2:19 PM boo ya:“Fog+Water+Collection+System”+”W.+Canto+Vera”&ots=AHR3yi8N-W&sig=1rb4G_RwkaEKSwjpUfEf4ZvMoCE#PPP9,M1
check the table of contents
2:21 PM Rob: um
2:22 PM yes
coastal dew harvesting::fuck yes
2:23 PM i think i forgot to mention, but this city in mauritania is also suffering from … growing water shortages due to overdraw from its primary aquifer
a problem that is expected to intensify as the population grows
me: perfect
2:24 PM and the fact that its coastal zone floods…
[this is me drooling]
Rob: i’m not saying its THE one. but its definitely a prime candidate.
me: we just have to make sure there is significant fog, and i think we’ve found the perfect place
2:26 PM Rob: even if we’re happy with it… i think the drawing is still needed… as a catalog of places were the idea can be adapted and implemented
me: yeah for sure
we have to do our due diligence

that area — the senegal river delta — which is a bit south of the city — is gorgeous
the delta, the dunes…
2:44 PM Rob: for some unimaginably idiotic reason, i had not done that yet
me: ha
great stuff there
Rob: yeah
2:45 PM me: photomontage bait
there is our fog
2:46 PM Rob: yeah — i saw that one
me: its way on the east side of the city too, which is good
it can penetrate
2:47 PM Rob: yeah
2:48 PM i may be being a bit simplistic here, but i think it is very typical to have strong fog, at least at times, along most coastlines
2:50 PM me: yeah, but to make a dent in water issues we need it to be regular
2:53 PM Rob: what do you think these are?
2:55 PM me: not a clue
any idea?
Rob: i’m really not sure
vegetation, probably
but why gridded?
2:56 PM and why by the road?

9:25 AMRob: word on the fog towers.
i had missed that.
9:27 AM obviously we would want to find a way to do fog farming so differently that its not biting that project, but i think its a great starting point (not necessarily the only starting point, but definitely a very promising one… i def. like the combination desert/farming — i instantly think of the old roman shit in the sahara that we talked about a while ago)

9 minutes
9:37 AM Rob: a bit more added to post on betamammoth:
While I love the way the fog tower develops mammoth structure out of the process intended to work on its surface, it feels like structural overkill to me — I think the fogharvesting linking suggests a more likely avenue for producing a methodology of fog harvesting in developing countries. Something lightweight, tensile, inspired more by spider webs than skyscrapers, deployed more like Christo than Corbusier. The beauty of which might come as much from the pattern it instigates on the land as from the architecture of the intervention itself.
9:39 AM image:

52 minutes
10:32 AM me: yeah i couldn’t agree more with your point on mammoth-structure vs mammoth-infestation
10:33 AM i actually only found that architecture project last night, but i first became aware of the tensile structures a few yeas ago
10:34 AM had i more time, a first collage i would have done would have been to make some sort of fog harvest web between the cranes in the dubai image, or spanning the burj dubai to another building like a massive city-scaled cobweb’
10:36 AM Rob: mmm… urban fog harvesting… for whatever reason, despite you putting up the dubai images, i didn’t make that connection… i was thinking arizona or something
but now that you say it, yeah
and i think there would need to be thinking about pollution, as well, in urban fog harvesting
me: or lagos
Rob: because you’d necessarily be harvesting a lot of chemicals people don’t want to drink
10:37 AM me: true, but a big enough harvesting operation acting as a massive air filter wouldn’t be so bad either
(ie, the point of the operation is to filter air and provide grey water for some hardy species of plant, etc)
10:38 AM Rob: right; or it would be a benefit that would justify going to the trouble of making the water drinkable
me: also true
10:39 AM Rob: (fog harvesting + green roof = air filter + drinking water + reducing cooling costs?)
me: quite possibly
10:40 AM im more drawn to the idea of doing something urban, or at leat somethign which regularly interacts with people, than the equivalent of a massive solar array in the desert
Rob: it might not be green roof… it might be a bit more mechanical if you plan on drinking it (i.e. algae?)
10:41 AM me: do you remember that project with the algae tubes
Rob: or maybe its both, in differing degrees
me: i love that project
Rob: yeah – mos
interestingly, somebody showed up on the internets claiming mos stole the idea
me: well , that one too
Rob: which other one?
me: lemme find it
10:44 AM
that beatuty
10:46 AM though ive always though they could have pushed it way more, particularly in the phenomenal / affective qualities of the overhead piping, and how that plus perhaps an undulating ground plane could induce variated programmatic novelties
that + fog harvesting + urban; am i am pleased as punch
10:48 AM Rob: oh right of course
10:50 AM you can never have too much shade in dubai…
10:51 AM me: or too much algae
or water
or city, apparently
Rob: i’m with you: infecting dubai with a network of fog farms, algae, and green roofs could be deliriously fun
10:52 AM me: yeah… i don’t kno about you, but im smelling what the rock is cookin
10:53 AM there is something fundamentally lovely about farming water in the desert
10:54 AM Rob: i would find it particularly interesting if we were able to tie it to addressing the stark inequalities produced by dubai’s capitalism gone wild (itinerant laborers without good food/water/power sources seem like obvious beneficiaries of this sort of public works structures)
10:56 AM me: yeah i agree
10:57 AM it vcould be as simple as focusing the public spaces in lower income areas, or it could be that the deposit points/ownership rights are somehow distributed toward them
before we get caught up in dubai, we should carefully consider the location for this
dubai is very 2005
10:58 AM china is very 1998
im only half-joking
10:59 AM we could go bold and try baghdad
or kabul
or houston
i don’t know if they have much fog though
11:01 AM Rob: kabul is banging as is… i’m not sure it needs our loving touch:,69.215369&spn=0.011594,0.023389&t=h&z=16
11:02 AM me: what, no street view?
google is laggin
(yeah from the air, that city is gorgeous)
you know what i was looking at yesterday…
11:03 AM Rob: throw some other places out there:
phoenix (much more direly in need of water than houston, in my opinion)
Rob: egypt
me: burning man
11:04 AM Rob: western/northern china
me: i think its a matter of finding which of those places has fog
Rob: yeah — i think you may be right
11:05 AM i do think dubai remains a prime candidate, because the tensions of late capitalism are so manifest there (and are among the essential problems of our day)
me: right
11:06 AM but it would be great to find the next instant city, and speculate as to what affect an infrastructure which provides free, renewable water and fuel supplies could have on a growing city
and track how the two may evolve together
11:07 AM the generative qualities creating public spaces, mitigating against the worst effects of poverty, and helping drive the economy
11:08 AM im thinking, lagos 15-20 years ago
11:09 AM the government keeps profits from the fuel, but allots a certain amount to the citizens, and the citizens get to keep the water, or something
11:10 AM Rob: that’s optimistic
(which doesn’t mean its wrong)
me: isn’t all architecture an act of optimism?
11:11 AM Rob: i think you’re right — finding the next instant city and inserting infrastructure to affect its course is (generically) what i am all about.
me: (im quoting tod williams and billie tsien there)
11:14 AM Rob: i don’t mean to suggest there’s anything wrong with being optimistic
me: yeah i know
im just sayin
this is good
11:15 AM we’re making good progress here
11:20 AM Rob: yeah. i think we have some goals: (1) research potential locations
me: (2) research some technologies
and case studies
Rob: and some good thoughts on what is being farmed, how, what the processes we want to include are