A Floating Desalination Facility


California is facing a severe drought issue and Los Angeles is within the second driest area in the state, with over 50% of their water resource relying on purchased imported water. Together with 2028 Olympic Games, the city council prospects to transform Los Angeles into a sustainable city which is environmentally healthy and economically prosperous. Towards the same vision, our project looks into the question: Could a desalination facility host an audience of 12,000 for sailing at the Long Beach Olympic venue?

We proposed sending these spectators to offshore barges near sailing race areas which has a closer view of this exciting sport. With wind and tidal powered desalination facility, three barges serve as self-sufficient water supply facilities and a recreation park.

During races, the barge is anchored outside of the racing boundaries and each of the barge has its own theme: the cultivated agriculture barge. It could holds 4000 spectators, water production could achieve 3000 cubic meter per day. It also consists of journal station for broadcasting, water slide for recreation, and the wind tower provide energy for desalination which placed under seating to produce. The desalted water irrigates plants in greenhouse which targeting to diverse domestic plants growing while giving opportunities for spectators to hang out in the backyard.

The bottled water industry barge could hold 4000 spectators and the water production could achieve 5000 cubic meter per day. The recreation elements like swimming pool, artificial beach playground and food court on the barge could be connected to the other two barges when they serve as a floating amphitheater together after the Olympic Games. It packages the surplus desalted water and puts the bottled water on sale. It releases pressure of water usage under the California drought condition. The changing rooms and lavatories are also facilitated with solar panels to heat the bath water.

With the same water system working on the third barge, the aquaculture barge has fish farms and a fish market which aim to provide seafood supply for people.  All the programs on this barge are settled within a large framework structure that allows overlays of water desalination systems and sea fish farming industry. The left part are the seats for spectators with sightseeing platform behind, while under them are some public facilities such as restrooms and catering service. In the middle part there is a spiral slides for amusement, so that people can climb up by the spiral stairs to the top of the tower and slide down into the pool.

The desalination facilities on three barges would provide water usage for the spectators and athletes, whereas each ferry will take surplus desalinated water back to the land due to the powerful storm desalination process generates way much more portable water than the possible consumption on the barges. After 2028, three barges reunion along Los Angeles coastline. The surrounded seating naturally formed into a performance stand. Visitors would enjoy concerts out of ocean while the recreation keeps working for visitors.


What prompted the project?

California’s population grows at an accelerating rate each year. To sustain this increasing population, new forms of energy storage must grow. Hoover Dam helped transform the American West, harnessing the force of the Colorado River along with millions of cubic feet of concrete and tens of millions of pounds of steel – to power millions of homes and business. Now, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power wants to equip it with a $3 billion pipeline and a pump station powered by solar and wind energy. The net result would be a kind of energy storage which targets to finish during 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

The issue of energy and sustainability are essential components and leading one of the main concerns on 2028 Olympics. With construction of the Olympic sustainability strategy, the project develops a zero waste, overlay infrastructure and shared economy for sailing racing on the Long Beach in 2028.

What is your take on the olympics and their architectural legacy? (Rio de Janeiro's unused luxury housing, London's failed public housing promises and Athens' deserted stadiums)

Olympics only lasts for a month in the city, the pervious Olympics bring us thinking the question of how events facilities and infrastructures could serve back to the city when Olympic games finish. Duration of a project is important to us. After going to the site, we paid attention to the weather condition. The California drought is a severe problem in California and will last for years. Our project focuses on inventing cooling system by sea water and serving back support services to the sailing races.

Do you see the opportunity for replicating the 1984 success where the LA games were the only profitable games in modern Olympic history?

Studying the system and strategies used in 1984, they are not replicable which means 2028 Olympic will perform in his own way. However, the way they did such a great Olympic in the history give us a hint on facing the severe conditions that already existed in the city push us to think deeper such as drought, overload traffic, infrastructure’s afterlife. As LA 2028 is working towards hosting the first Energy Positive Games by generating more energy through renewable sources and energy efficiency efforts than the energy needed to power the game. The question of how architecture and infrastructure physically connect and combine various types of industry such as tourism, entertainment, culture with Olympics in an inventive way drives the development of our project. For sure, the city’s ambitious goal of achieving zero waste will achieve well as the whole city already started his actions.

What are your hopes for your project post Olympic Games?

The project is designed to provide users with multi-functions for hanging out while watching the Olympic Games. Each floating venue serves as a self-sustainable desalination machine and a recreational park with amusement facilities, meanwhile each one also has its specific
production and financial values, namely the industry line of botanic gardens, bottled water and fish farm on different barges. Switching to face a larger public than the assumed 12,000 spectators during the Olympic sailing races, the project has its powerful afterlife. As a whole,
the three barges could composite together with a floating stage as a moving Amphitheatre. It could also host other big events like tennis games and mega concerts. Separated as independent barges, each barge performs its own functions as it used to be and could be connected to various spots in different gestures for supplements to the city. The arboretum barge is supposed to cultivate California characteristic palm trees. As a matter of fact, the existing palm trees in Los Angeles is dying as the Olympic Games is approaching which have a life span of 100 years. The water bottled industry barge is an industrial innovation which produces portable drinks fully utilizing the abundant seawater resources. Also taking advantage of Olympic Games, the new products would be greatly popularized and put into the market. The fish farm barge would be an ideal place for vacation with food court facilized.
It could also float to any yacht clubs or boat houses ports.

Differently from the other venues, LA will have 11 years (4 more) to plan for these games - how and to what extent might this have an affect on the city?

Our proposal identifies and tackles the issue of industrial overlays and the city’s sustainable development in a radical way. We imagined the strategies and created designs for storing and transferring wind and tidal power into energy for desalination processes. The gigantic barges and the programs imagined are fantasies which possess the possibilities to be realized in the future. 2028 is the third time that Los Angeles would have hosted the Summer Olympics. The Los Angeles bid relied on most existing venues. Together with the target plans of LA city council, the project could be the guide book for LA’s swift and violent development in the next decade. Designing for the future scenario, we have speculated future changes in lifestyles, social behaviors, and anticipated how the design may impact California’s growing population. The idea of a sustainable Olympic Games would have positive impacts on the city technologically, politically, culturally, environmentally and economically.

What do you see as the most interesting projects in light of this event?

The most interesting project of our design is the possibilities of separating the three barges with different themes serving different areas during the Olympic sailing competitions while recombining together for new functions for afterlives when the Olympics ends. Since the sailing event of the Olympics is classified into different times and sailing areas, it’s difficult to serve the spectators of all types of sailing games by using only one moving barge. Also, it’s hard to satisfy all the needs of 6000 people within a huge complex because not all people would like to watch the games all the time. There should be something more absorbing and interesting for them willing to spend the long time on the sea, such as swimming, fishing, dining or shopping. Therefore, we consider the multifunctional uses of our project and figured out the proper ways of combining industrial systems , public serving facilities and recreational activities. Each barge has its identical themes: one is for agriculture, one is for bottled water production and one is for seafood production. Once the sailing competition begins, the three barges would be driven to different racing areas. For spectators, they can choose the barges either by their interested races or by their interested themes.

How do you see your project relating and responding to the network of events and venues?

The starting point of our original proposal is to provide a floating water desalination plant with energy generating systems and seats for spectators to watch the Olympic sailing events in2028, but we go much farther than this. Before we started our design, we went to Los Angeles and did a lot of research about the local climates, topography, energy sources and consumption, life qualities of citizens as well as sports event that will happen in 2028 Olympic Games. Apart from sailing event, other sports event are held in the venues with enough seats for spectators. That’s the reason we made the design for sailing event when we found out thousands of spectators standing on the beach watching sailing event in the past decades. It’s hard for about 12000 spectators standing and watching games all the time without any seats or other public facilities. Besides, people could only see the games shown on the screen rather than in close distance. Therefore, we assumed to transport half of the spectators on to the ocean to watch the sailing event in reality while providing enough seats, public facilities and recreational facilities. For one thing, we activate the Long Beach by boosting tourism industry during the event, for another, we make it as an industrial hub of Los Angeles in the long run.