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eVolo Skyscraper Competition 2015, Iquique, Chile
Camanchaca Water Spire Tower


eVolo Skyscraper Competition 2015 / 

Iquique, Chile


Water is regarded as one of the most precious resources of our planet. Atacama desert in northern Chile is considered to be one of the driest places on earth. In some places in the Atacama desert it hasn’t rained for over 400 years. However, the highly developed mining industry uses almost 80% of water resources available in that region. Additionally, nearly 60% of the industrial discharges are deposited in the river basins through irrigation channels. Water in the nearby cities as well as villages is almost unfit for human consumption and is becoming more and more scarce. With such a crisis, it is crucial to manage water so that there is enough of it for public, industrial and agricultural use.

To address this challenge, desalination plants have been proposed as a possible solution. They can provide water in areas where no natural supply of water exists. Nevertheless, they are expensive and require huge amounts of energy. In addition, they may change the salinity, lower the amount of oxygen in water and thus kill animals that are not used to the higher levels of salt.

To counter this solution, scientists in Chile have been experimenting with fog that is a significant source of water,yet often overlooked. The Atacama desert , despite being the driest place on earth, provides habitat for a wide array of plants. The reason for this unusual phenomenon are Camanchacas.


‘Camanchaca’ is a word derived from the local language and it 

represents an unusual feature of the Chilean climate- cloud banks that are formed on the coast of the Atacama desert.


Camanchaca possesses every characteristic of fog: it consists of very small rain drops that are too light to fall but gather on various surfaces and make it possible for plants as well as other microorganisms to survive in areas where it barely rains.


Camanchaca Water Spire Tower is placed in one of the coastal cities in the Atacama desert. Its true phenomenon resides in the fog-catching layer located on all sides of the tower which traps the fog and transforms it into water. The name of the tower derived from its shape. The vertical spirals of the tower maximize the amount of water harvested as the airflow isn’t constrained by anything. The fog-catching layer is made of cooper and resembles in its form a fine mesh net. Cooper is known for its resistance and antimicrobial properties, therefore the entire water-harvesting system isn’t only resistant to climate change but also provides the tower with potable, bacteria-free water.


The water consumption per person amounts to 60 liters per day. Chilean scientists proved that in order to cover that demand, 21 square meters of fog fence are needed. Furthermore it would satisfy needs of 3500 people. However, the mayor idea of the tower isn't only to provide people with potable water but also to increase their living standards. It is important to remember that apart from being a self-sufficient water supplier, Camanchaca Water Spire Tower is a modern and attractive meeting point with offices to let and apartments as well as many green areas which could in the future attract people as well as encourage new companies to invest in northern Chile. Finally the tower

potentially creates a balance between sustainability and life, generating a vertical extension of the landscape on northern coastal cities in Chile.

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