To address problematics of E. coli contamination in Triglav National Park we started to explore possible vernacular principles which would be viable within the constraints of the location.

We decided to dig into mechanical water filtration with two different types of materials that can act as filtrators – XYLEM TISSUE and POROUS CERAMICS.
We imagined water filtration very simply: contaminated water enters a filter in which particles are retained in the pores. Purified water flows out of the filter.

First material we used as a water filter was xylem tissue from pine and spruce wood. Since xylem tissue allows water to flow through while blocking most types of contaminants that are bigger than 70 nm, sapwood can filter out more than 99 % of E. coli bacteria.

The spruce tree filters were used also because of the tree species being widespread in Slovenia.

Making a xylem filter.

Xylem filters also have their drawbacks. The filters have to be swapped out regularly because the bacteria saturate the wood which then loses its ability to filter the water. The filters also must not dry out otherwise they also lose the ability to filter water.

Ceramic filters are affordable and sustainable, furthermore they are also more versatile than xylem filters, however they must be regularly cleaned to function properly. Small pore structure of ceramic filters removes up to 99 % of bacteria, sediments and turbidity but at the same time doesn’t remove minerals.

Making a ceramic filter.

Stemming from material experimentation the process of form exploration began with the help of generative design and 3D clay printing technology.

The goal was to generate forms that would act as scaffolding for the water, enable and improve water permeability and enable water movement and its upwards directed flow. To take advantage of hydraulic pressure under the surface, the underwater objects were designed in a way which enables water absorption through the entire surface of the structure.

Polluted water enters the facility from all sides.