Mushroom-shaped solar evaporators have taken out first place in a competition asking architects, landscape architects, designers, engineers, urban planners, students and environmental professionals to create an innovative urban vision for a several-mile-long development zone on the eastern edge of downtown LA. The Project Umbrella submission features a series of umbrella-like structures designed to clarify black water from city sewage which would then be used to encourage the growth of surrounding trees and plants.

The Los Angeles Cleantech Corridor and Green District Competition was sponsored by The Architect’s Newspaper and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). It was presented with the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles and the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, which established the Clean Tech Corridor, a planned 2,000‐acre mixed-use development zone near downtown LA.

The Umbrella entry by Constantin Boincean, Ralph Bertram, Aleksandra Danielak from Oslo, Norway, took out first place US$5,000 prize for the Professional Category of the competition which attracted 70 entries. The structures would take black water from city sewage that would be cleaned in the dome through a process of solar evaporation. The clarified water would then be distributed and released into the streets through a process of evaporation and condensation to transform the surrounding areas into greener public spaces.

The competition was designed to provide an open ideas forum for “provocative, even revolutionary, new visions of LA’s urban fabric and infrastructure,” so even though Project Umbrella took out first place, there’s no guarantee LA residents will see giant mushroom-shaped structures popping up in the Clean Tech Corridor anytime soon.

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