Architecture Student

Crystal Farm

C R Y S T A L  F A R M

fall | 2016 | barcelona, spain

collaboration with Mark Stewart


To address the problem of limited fresh water, the Crystal Farm strives to create a local, closed system of water production for urban farming. Drawing inspiration from a study of salt crystal formations, Crystal Farm utilizes the process of solar humidification to produce fresh water and salt. The evaporated fresh water feeds the local farming systems, both traditional and aquaponic, or may be transferred to storage to support a community space on site or may be distributed to the rest of the city. The salt becomes a building material to create a crystallized local market for sharing produce with the surrounding community. 

metabolic processes

Many factors affect the process of desalination through solar humidification including energy available, the salinity of the solution, humidity, and the amount of wind present. Our analysis sought to optimize placement of the metabolic and farming elements to increase production.

Each form on site is developed based on the water cycle andsalt crystallization. The solar humidification domes allow for optimized evaporation and collection. The aquaponic farms are built out of fiberglass and house a central pool and area along the exterior for farming. The market is a seasonal element built by crystallizing and bonding the excess salt from the desalination process. Once harvesting season is over and the rainy season begins, the market melts away to be recrystallized the following year. 

crystallization experiments

A series of experiments looking at the process of salt crystallization were conducted in order to study formal languages, structural qualities and evaporation rates.