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City of the Future - Grand Prize, A Design & Engineering Challenge sponsored by History Channel, IBM & Infiniti.
San Francisco CA, 2008

Hydro-Net was designed for the History Channel’s invited design competition City of the Future -- a one week design challenge posed to eight architects to re-envision their city 100 years in the future. This is the Grand Prize winner for the San Francisco portion of the competition (other cities explored that year were Atlanta and Washington DC).

This Hydro-Net project speculates that cities of the future will need to be evermore interconnected yet also more self-reliant. In order to accommodate a projected doubling of population by 2108 while resisting further outward sprawl, the Bay Area and San Francisco together will require a new infrastructural network that is able to collect and distribute water, power, fuel, goods, and accommodate the transport of residents and tourists alike.

Symbiotic and multi-scalar, SF HYDRO-NET is proposed as an occupiable infrastructure that organizes critical flows of the city. It provides an underground arterial circulation network for hydrogen-fueled hover cars, removing higher speed traffic from city streets. HYDRO-NET emerges above ground at the waterfront and multiple neighborhood nodal points. Here, new architectures bloom at key locales in the form of opportunistic ‘urban caves, reeds and outcroppings’ that link the above and below worlds, fostering new social spaces and urban forms fed by the resources and connectivity provided by HYDRO-NET.

HYDRO-NET also serves to simultaneously collect, distribute and store freshwater (H2O), geothermal energy and hydrogen (H2) fuel. Built with automated drilling robots, Hydro-Net’s tunnel walls are structured using carbon nanotube technology. Algae ponds will reoccupy areas along the Bay impacted by the projected 3 to 5 meter water level rise of global climate change. This new aquaculture zone provides the raw material for the production of hydrogen fuel that is stored and distributed within the nanotube tunnel walls. New high-density housing coexists with this aquaculture zone as a forest of sinuous towers. HYDRO-NET also becomes a device to tap the vast reserves of water and power housedwithin the earth below San Francisco, storing and distributing energy and fresh water from existing underground geothermal fields and aquifers stretching from Golden Gate Park to SFO. Replacing today’s street paving that sends rainwater runoff into the sewer, new porous pavement allows rain to recharge the aquifers. HYDRO-NET also links to an array of fog harvesters, diversifying sources of water. Ultimately HYDRO-NET sponsors new programmatic potentials in its underground nodes and above-ground tendrils, while allowing much of the character of above-ground San Francisco to be preserved and evolve organically

After the original competition and exhibition at the Ferry Buidling in San Francisco, Hydro-Net was subsequently published and exhibited widely. including inclusion in the Fourth National Design Triennial: Why Design Now, at The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.

Project Credits
Principals: Lisa Iwamoto & Craig Scott
Project Team: Cassiano Bonjardim, Sean Canty, Chris Chalmers, Andrew Clemenza, Manuel Diaz, Ryan Golenberg, Wei Huang, John Kim, Charles Lee, Stephanie Lin, Dan Sullivan

Sponsors: The History Channel, IBM, Infiniti

Awards / Honors
- Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Triennial: Why Design Now, selected/exhibited project, 2010
- WellTech Awards Finalist, 2009
- AIA San Francisco 2008 Design Awards, Honor Award in Unbuilt Architecture
- City of the Future, San Francisco 2108, Grand Prize