Extreme Materiality in the Future Desert City

How will we deal with extremely dry environments in the future?

As a result of global warming, average world temperatures are rising each year. In January 2013, the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., announced that 2012 was the hottest year ever in the contiguous United States since records began in 1895. The Sahara Desert is currently expanding south at a rate of up to 48 kilometers per year. From these two statistics alone, it appears quite probable that the world will become hotter and more desertified in the future.

On this assumption, I am proposing an extreme desert city of the future and questioning how we will exploit material properties to survive — and thrive — in these harsh desert environments.

 

Extreme Materiality in the Future Desert City - Hyun Lee

A high-conductivity metal mesh condenses morning desert mists into water droplets that can be collected and stored

Extreme Materiality in the Future Desert City - Hyun Lee

A mixed hydrophobic / hydrophilic coating mimics the shell of the Namib Desert Beetle (Stenocara gracilipes) which collects moisture from the morning air into hydrophobic channels in its shell

Extreme Materiality in the Future Desert City - Hyun Lee

Extreme Materiality in the Future Desert City - Hyun Lee

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