Sculptural desalination plant imagined for Santa Monica pier

Pipe is a sustainable water harvesting solution that could produce 4.5 billion litres of clean water for California.

In an effort to tackle California’s prolonged drought problem, Canada-based Khalili Engineers looked to the ocean for inspiration and came up with the Pipe – a floating desalination plant just off the coast of Santa Monica. The concept is a finalist in the recent 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) design competition, which drives solutions around the development of sustainable energy infrastructure to address the environmental consequences of global warming.

Pipe is said to be able to desalinise 4.5 billion litres of seawater into clean drinking water for the state of California every year. The plant is engineered with a canopy of solar panels, which generate power for the seawater to be pumped through an electromagnetic filtration system situated beneath the salt bath deck. After the water has been desalinated it is piped to shore and the remaining salt discharge known as brine is released back into the ocean with a smart release system designed to quickly disperse the concentrated salt solution.

LAGI looks for smart infrastructure ideas that also incorporate a socially-orientated and aesthetic element in the designs. Renderings of Pipe reveal an elongated mirrored structure afloat at Santa Monica pier. The architectural object is intended to go beyond its function as a desalinator and stand as a public art feature for the popular seaside location.

The winners of the LAGI competition will be announced in October 2016.