Architects Gone Wild: Water Inspiration for Yeosu 2012

Big-time international design competitions encourage architects to “design and build feats of wonderment” and for the ocean-themed Yeosu, Korea World Expo 2012 (“The Living Ocean and Coast”) we can see what their creative imaginations might generate with water as a prime ingredient.

MVRDV (Rotterdam, NL) submits a striking Water Cube Pavilion that imagines “a block extracted from the ocean” in which one is surrounded on all sides by water with a series of water “basins” that are stacked on top of each other. . The skin of the building is designed out of four layers of glass, with water in between. Fresh sea water from outside is constantly pumped into the basins as a natural temperature adapter. The skin contains elements to regulate temperature such as rolling curtains to control the UV penetration and solar PV cells to create energy for the water circulation and the light of the building. (More info and images at and

Our mobile society will squeal with delight at the submission from Melbourne, AU-based Peddle Thorp Architects. Their pavilion is is a vessel – a floating exhibition space that can be sailed to other cities. Today, adaptability is a key planning concept, so we love that this is a “living building that can adapt to suit an unknowable future.” Just think how great it would be if we could easily move the many abandoned and failed facilities that now litter the world landscape…schools, malls, hospitals that moved along with the population! (More info and images at

Drought Mneumonic Monument

In the unlikey event that local citizens forget, a public sculpture was erected in Taebaek, Kangwon-Do, South Korea, as a reminder of the hardship and pain of drought and water shortages and the continuing need to conserve. From BaboMike on Flickr is this photo of the Taebaek Water Monument, which was

“…erected earlier this year as a reminder of last winters drought. We were on strict water rationing for a few months, allowed only 1 or 2 hours of water per day. The monument is created out of old plastic water bottles.”

Water Monument, Taebaek, Kangwon-Do, South Korea

Detail: Water Monument, Taebaek, Kangwon-Do, South Korea

For No Debris, Choose DMZ

Entrepreneurship springs eternal when it comes to bottled water, so we’re only slightly surprised that it is now springing from the Korean Demilitarized Zone. That’s right, DMZ water, extracted from that narrow strip that is one of the most heavily guarded plots of land in the world. From the Guardian UK,

South Korea's newest water is bottled near the Demilitarised Zone buffer that has divided the Korean peninsula since 1953. Photograph: LEE JAE-WON/REUTERS via The Guardian UK

South Korea's newest water is bottled near the Demilitarised Zone buffer that has divided the Korean peninsula since 1953. Photograph: LEE JAE-WON/REUTERS

For more than half a century the Demilitarised Zone, the buffer between North and South Korea, has only yielded crops of razor-wire fences, landmines, watchtowers, and squadrons of heavily armed soldiers – until three months ago when the Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co began selling DMZ 2km water, from a spring that flows under the strip. The bottling plant is safely just within South Korean territory but the origin of the water is clear: along with the outline of a bird, the label boasts the legend DMZ. Lee Sang-hyo, a spokesman for the company, explained: “We decided on water from the DMZ because it’s different and the environment there is untouched, so many people think it’s clean.” “Getting the water is not dangerous at all. We worked it all out with the military,” Lee said.

The news tempts us to brainstorm some possible marketing slogans for the DMZ brand (before Watercrunch beats us to the punch!)

  • Water we can agree on.
  • Always True to the Truce
  • Strategically Balanced.
  • Certified Safe, Step by Step
  • Walk the line.
  • All Clear.
  • Continuously Checked and Buffered.
  • Break out of your Borders!
  • Guarded production, safety assured.
  • Exclusive Barb-guard Processing
  • The Conflicted Agree: Choose DMZ