Wonderful Engineering

The Secret To Making Buildings More Sustainable, Put Water Pipes On The Outside

A pair of students from the Carnegie Mellon has proposed that the key to finding a successful, sustainable architectural solution is to opt for the pipes outside the buildings. This radical proposal can bring a paradigm shift in the world of architecture and building design.

The impact of the idea has been such that the Flux Emerging Architects Design Competition awarded it the title of being the “Most Innovative” design.

The duo named Sophie Nahrmann and Sinan Goral, has created the layout of an Ecoschool, which is primarily an environmental friendly boarding facility. The most astounding aspect of the design is that the water pipes are not hidden from the view; rather they have been put outside and form one of the main features of the design.


Image source: City Lab


Nahrmann and Goral hope that their reverse-engineering of a conventional layout of a building will inspire the people to think and to question their consumption behavior. The project aims to bring the depletion of the natural resources to the limelight.

 “We wanted to create beautiful and austere environments, but at the same time promote honesty through the pipe networks to show that these systems … can be made beautiful.”

The practicality of this design is compounded by the fact that the pair has designed the pipes such that they can be used for on-site water processing. Apart from that, this water can also be utilized to facilitate the vegetation production.

The team wants to draw attention to the fact that once these water pipes enter the ground, they become a part of the entire landscape, whereby a large number of people are affected by every pipe that goes into the earth.


Image Source: City Lab


Commenting on the Ecoschool, Carlile from Flux asserted that the unique design unites both the dwellers as well as the architects of a building on one platform to lay down the foundation of a sustainable future inciting them to think about water management and drainage issues.

The design of Ecoschool is not merely a fancy layout. The building will be constructed in the Strip District of Pittsburgh. The choice of the site was driven by the factors like the urge of the residents to find cheap residential solutions and proximity to a major business locality.

“From an architectural standpoint, there’s something lacking,”

The only drawback of the system is that it is not affordable. However, both Nahrmann and Goral aim to incorporate more adaptability into the plan and the layout of the structure.


Image Source: City Lab


The design of the Echoschool also addresses the issue of rampant river pollution that plagues the area of the Pittsburgh caused by the ancient sewage system. Ecoschool will prompt the other architects and designers to think along the new lines to come up with solutions for the current housing problems.