Aquatecture Compact Water Harvesting System

Studio Sway

Aquatecture is a compact and modular water harvesting system designed to collect falling rainwater in the urban environment. It can be installed as a façade panel on buildings, making water harvesting an integrated building feature. It can also be used as free standing elements in landscapes, providing water-harvesting stations at various nodes throughout cities. Aquatecture encourages a more convenient and closer engagement between people and their daily water resources.

68% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050. As a result, urban water needs will increase and place paramount pressure on water systems.

Made of

Stainless steel. The materials for this application have been selected mainly because of durability to withstand water. 

How it works

This panel is designed to harvest water. Due to the vertical position of the panels, the rain water that drips over the open structure is collected and transported to a storage tank. This water can be pumped back into a building’s grey water system. Treated greywater can be reused for garden watering, irrigation, toilet flushing or laundry washing. Ultimately, the goal is to create potable water from the harvest and allow buildings to become independent water nodes in the cityscape. 


The panels are made up of a modular system and can be integrated into the shell of architecture. They can easily be installed onto existing buildings or incorporated into new architecture. The panels can also be installed as free standing elements in landscapes or open public spaces. 

Environmental Impact

It has been designed as a modular system, so that it may be retrofitted onto existing buildings or easily integrated into new construction. It can be demounted easily from a surface and remounted somewhere else, which increases its life cycle. Aquatecture also aims to take into account the use of recycled metal in the production process. 


  • Collecting water on the vertical facades can help cool buildings in the summer. 
  • It contributes to urban blue infrastructure within the city by providing a platform for water where it is needed in the city, rather than diverting water all away.
  • The panels enable water to become a more visible feature in the urban environment. 
  • The design of the surface compliments a building’s aesthetic quality. 
  • A great benefit is food safety. The ultimate goal is to make the harvested water potable. A food safe material like stainless steel makes this goal attainable.  

Growth opportunities

Studio Sway is researching the CO2 emissions associated with the production of Aquatecture, so that they can see where this can be reduced. The goal is to have the lowest possible embodiment of carbon.

Studio Sway aims to partner with municipalities and governments to join efforts to address the urban water management challenges of today and the future. Aquatecture can be used worldwide and the next steps are to develop and scale up the water vapor harvesting technology so that the panels can have more impact in, for example, Asia or desert countries. Aquatecture Compact Rain Harvesting System is currently being tested on a full scale in South Africa and the Netherlands. The project is looking for business development partners and individuals or organizations willing to contribute through development funding, investments or donations to ensure consistent and thorough product development.