If the concept were to come to life, it would be constructed out of fiberglass composite material, rather than concrete. While this may not seem like a big deal, it’s worth noting that concrete requires a large amount of water to keep it workable during construction. And moisture-dependent concrete is the world’s most popular building material. Other building materials would include hydrophobic paper, titanium-coated surfaces, and glass glazing. The metal surfaces would repel water.
Zhang proposes the erecting the structure at World’s End Park in Boston, Mass near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Zhang went to school for architecture. The structure would “evoke the awareness of the on-going water crisis and propose a frugal way of living in relationship to water,” she writes.
The Thirsty House would be made underground, where it would sit on a slope near the bottom of a valley. With proper positioning, it would be able to collect the rainwater that drains into this area. Pockets within the walls would store the water, which could then be filtered for use.
Strategically placed at the top floor, the kitchen would be near the water source. Used water would then drain down to the toilets on the lower floors.
At the moment, Zhang’s Thirsty House is still just a concept. However, the architect notes that all of the technology exists to turn it into a reality. With the way the drought is going, Zhang may be onto something.