If your entire house is a water filter, clean water is never hard to find.
Every time it rains, this concrete house turns into an oversized water filter.
Rainwater runs from the roof through a custom-designed system and ends up in a cistern, clean enough to drink. A demonstration building was on display during Milan Design Week last month, complete with a fake cloud overhead to show it in action.
Using rainwater to supply drinking water could be “the missing link for ecological housing,” says Katalin Ivanka, creative director for Ivanka, the Hungarian company that designed the Rainhouse system. While it’s becoming more common for buildings to capture rain to water plants or flush toilets, even the greenest buildings still tend to use water from the tap for drinking and cooking.
In cities, where rain rushing down streets can lead to flooding and overflowing sewers, new rain-harvesting buildings could serve as an alternative form of stormwater management. In countries that get plenty of rain but lack safe drinking water, the buildings could act as water treatment plants. The company also envisions the system scaled up for use in “rainwater factories” to supply pure water for manufacturers.
Here’s how it works: Falling rain is redirected through a series of filters, starting with a patented material called “bioconcrete” on the roof. Specially-designed stainless steel pipes filter out more contaminants before the water lands in a cistern.