Virtual Water

Long Island, New York / United States of America


The public courtyard of MoMA PS1 has a Water Footprint of over 300,000 gallons of rainwater per year – over 100,000 gallons of rainwater during the summer. The Virtual Water project collects, cleans, conserves and uses thousands of gallons of this summertime rain. Collected rain water flows between and over conical canopies to create six unique water-based atmospheres. The atmospheres include (1) a Stream or "Living System" that filters collected rainwater with plants, and demonstrates how nature cleans water with minimal energy inputs; (2) a Waterfall Fish Pond that supplies critical nutrients to the plants in the Living System, and demonstrates relations between fish and their wetland environments to clean water; (3) a Splash Pool for visitors to play in shallow bio-filtered water; (4) an active Mist/Sprinkler environment that cools visitors in the summer; (5) a Drip Rain Puddle that creates a serene dripping sound during and after a rain storm; and (6) a Reflecting Pool Lounge that is a shaded gathering space and water storage fountain. Finding ways to supply/clean water with minimal energy inputs is critical to reducing greenhouse emissions and our overall energy footprints: water utilities are the largest consumers of energy in the United States.

Architect of record

Martin Felsen
3209 S Morgan St
Chicago, IL 60608, USA
Phone: 312-638-9100

Associate architect

Paul Endres
4053 Harlan street
Emeryville, CA 94608, USA
Phone: 510-898-6960

Consultant 1

Reese Campbell
Method Design
377 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016, USA
Phone: 646-559-4937