Water Mogul's Mansion

COMPETITION - 1st PLACE // VALLEY OF FIRE, NV // JULY 2013

+ Selected for 2014 D3 Unbuilt Spaces Exhibition in Ankara, Turkey

For a competition for a Rapper's Mansion sponsored by UCAL in Switzerland, we proposed a 4,000-acre estate that produces water through a vast network of condensation domes for a site in the Nevada desert. For this project, we have designed a client, "The Water Moghul," the site in the Valley of Fire, NV, and the program, a desert villa poised on water-producing infrastructure.

Nowhere is the water crisis in the American Southwest more tangible than at the Lake Mead reservoir, supplying drinking water to 36 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah. Down to 1,105 feet, water levels could sink to 1,075 feet by April 2015, triggering the first federal shortage declaration. 

We argue that the water crisis must be understood as an economic, infrastructural and cultural issue. The solution we propose finds in the Water Moghul, a new type of client: the Water-Mogul defines celebrity in terms of power: beyond products and consumerism, even beyond sustainability, his wealth is invested in new infrastructures that produce water. The iconography of his mansion speaks of the water empire: its façade bears water-bubble rustication, sluicing water columns and frothy motifs. Its thick walls radiate solar gain through cool winter nights, and the mansion sits on a plinth of water-channeling infrastructure. The estate encompasses a formal garden of water condensation domes and repurposes abandoned mines for their moisture-production potential.

Team // Ariane Harrison, Seth Harrison, Alex Davis, Caitlin Gucker-Kanter Taylor