Architect and Professor Eric Olsen Wins 2008 Metropolis Next Generation® Design Prize
San Francisco, May 2, 2008 A Bay Area architect and professor at the California College of Arts has been chosen as this year’s winner of the prestigious Metropolis Next Generation® Design Prize.
Next Generation® Design Prize winner Eric Olsen (Image: Amy MacWilliamson)
The winner, Eric Olsen, was honored by the architecture and design community at a gala awards celebration last night at the BATH+BEYOND showroom in San Francisco. The event was cohosted by competition sponsors Duravit and Geberit. Herman Miller, Inc., Maharam, and Sherwin-Williams also sponsored the competition. Olsen was presented with the $10,000 Next Generation® prize for his innovative design of an easy-to-carry device for transporting and purifying water.
Image: Eric Olsen
Olsen’s design is a Solar Water Disinfecting Tarpaulin, a flexible, adaptable vessel that can be easily filled with water and carried home, where it works to make the water potable. The pleated tarpaulin-constructed from laser-cut clear low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and dark rubberized nylon-is designed to hold up to 20 liters of water and can be rolled into a bundle or worn as a shawl-like kanga for carrying. It can be laid across a rooftop, spread on the ground or hung vertically to allow ultraviolet radiation from the sun to disinfect the water inside. This World Health Organization-approved purification method takes only five hours in hot climates. The tarpaulin is designed for use in a wide variety of settings, from urban disaster sites to remote third-world villages. Ten additional Next Generation proposals were also honored as runners-up at the awards event. (See below for details.)
Image: Eric Olsen
“This year’s winner and the very noteworthy runners-up once again confirm our belief in young designers’ ability to address complex social, cultural and environmental issues with enthusiasm and a high level of creativity,” said Metropolis publisher Horace Havemeyer III. “I’m also proud of them for submitting clear-headed business plans,” adds Havemeyer, noting that the “competition is unique among design competitions in that it asks for entrants to submit a business plan.”
“It is clear to us that the next generation of designers cares deeply about our natural resources,” says Metropolis editor in chief Susan S. Szenasy. “Their inventive proposals were focused on water, an endangered resource worldwide, and serve to create a dialogue around a crucial topic. Designers, they’re saying, have useful answers to offer a thirsty world.”
The judges for the 2008 Next Generation Design Competition were Lance Hosey, director at William McDonough + Partners; Eric Chan, president of ECCO Design Inc.; Fiona Cousins, principal and mechanical engineer at Arup; and Pam Light, senior vice president at HOK. Szenasy moderated the deliberations.
Created by Metropolis magazine, the annual Next Generation Design Competition, now in its fifth year, recognizes outstanding ideas from young architects and designers for making our built environment better, safer and more sustainable. This year, entrants were asked to submit proposals relating to water.
Image: Eric Olsen
2008 Next Generation Design Prize Runners-Up:
Andrea Brivio, Davide Conti and Fabio Galli (Italy): “S_M_L,” a housing project designed for the city of Melaka, Malaysia, that harnesses the power of the region’s daily rainfall and uses it to produce electricity and replenish gray water systems
Yuichi Watanabe, Katz Miyahara and Yoshi Ogawa (Seattle): “Polarfloat,” large floating structures in the Arctic Ocean that provide places for polar bears to land as the ice melts
Joseph Cory and Eyal Malka (Israel): “WatAir,” a simple unit with an integrated infrastructure for collecting dew and rainwater
Paul Giacomantonio, Vera Templeman, William Sorich and Kat Taylor (Pescadero, CA): “The Sun Curve,” a self-sustaining aquaponic food growing system, powered by solar and wind energy
Charles Lee (San Francisco): “Pacific Coast Interpretive Center for Ocean Health,” living systems that recycle gray water and runoff by filtering wetlands, cooling the gray water with ocean water and producing energy with tidal generators
Lars Mayer (Germany): “Sustainable Water,” a surface water purification solution that is suited to the needs of developing countries and based on natural processes, using the seeds of the moringa tree
Robyn Perkins (Boston): “emergeMUMBAI,” a method of rainwater harvesting that is used as a spatial backbone, a flood mitigation tool, and a water source for redeveloping public housing lands in Mumbai, India
Gerald Lindner, Jeroen Tacx, Beate Lendt, Peter Heidman, and Martin Oostenrijk (Netherlands) “Water Harvester,” a double-tubed solar water distiller that is made of polyethylene film and uses a solar-powered water desalinator to make fresh water from polluted or salt water
Renata Fenton and Enrique Lomnitz (Mexico): “Isla Urbana,” small, modular, inexpensive and expandable rainwater harvesting systems that can be affordably purchased by the low-income households in Mexico City most affected by the rapidly increasing water shortages
Thomas Kosbau and Tyson Gillard (New York): “Vena: Water Courses from Air,” a biomimetic low-cost, low-energy solution for people in climates that lack consistent rainfall or clean ground sources to harvest vast amounts of drinking water from the atmosphere