Re.Cover// - ACSA National Steel Competition
Building Type: Water Filtration and Museum Center
Location: Riachuelo River - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Class: Architecture 4A; Woodbury University
Partners: Cody Glen, Salvador Cabezon, Amelia (Mara) Sanchez Casella
Professor: Gerry Smulevich
Date: Fall 2009

The Riachuelo River of Buenos Aires, Argentina is one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Not only is the river toxic, but nearly 30% of residents don’t have access to clean drinking water. The site is disconnected from Buenos Aires and is a haven for criminal and drug activity. Moreover, the Ministry of Water in Argentina does not have an official building to house the official administrative functions.

Create a sense of place, provide essential water filtration services and explore the techtonics of structure in order to create a place unique to the user. Provide a museum to explore the water filtration process. Reconnect the area with a light-rail transit system.

Work collaboratively in Argentina with international partners. Investigate site in Argentina with Argentinians, question typical structural systems, investigate water filtration, research concept, diagram site according to concept, generate program, order spatial sequence of program to concept, generate form. Resolve.

Salvaging water from the river and salvaging old ship hulls as skin for the building. Recovering the river and Re-covering the building.

Program Requirements:

  1. Filtration Technical Area
  2. Museum
  3. Train Station
  4. Computer Labs
  5. Volunteer Space
  6. Storage
  7. Science Labs
  8. Cafeteria
  9. Water Administration Area

Project Intention:
Re.Cover// is a water filtration building that situates itself along the Riachuelo River of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Opposite the historic district of La Boca in the isolated Isla Maciel, the building serves as an infrastructural node reconnecting the divided city to itself and reconfiguring the fractured networks. The master plan incorporates a new light rail system as a key feature for accessing the building, but more importantly, to reconnect the people on both sites of the river. The building seeks to filter the river’s water sustainably, while at the same time it reuses discarded ship-hulls as skin. The building is divided into three parts where the treatment of the water and the act of cleaning can be celebrated. Re.Cover employs a multiplicity of sustainable technologies in order to produce potable water effectively, clean the heavy metal deposits and toxic waste dumped in the Riachuelo, and re-purposes steel from abandoned and sunken ships regionally.