Succulent Walls x MADWORKSHOP


UCLA Architecture and Urban Design x Succulent Walls x MADWORKSHOP Collaboration at the LA Design Festival

Currently, most rainwater is lost to stormwater collection rather than captured for landscape irrigation or other non-potable domestic uses. Succulent Walls tackle how architecture can respond to Southern California’s precarious relationship to water and lack of disaster preparedness. The students of Chair and Associate Professor, Heather Roberge's Research Studio, A Disciplinary Guide to Currents: Water, teamed up with David and Mary Martin's MADWORKSHOP to bring Succulent Walls to life.

The Succulent Wall prototypes are easy-to-install water catchment systems that provide dual benefits: the storage of water, a critical and finite resource, and sustainable residential gardening. Each prototype is designed to capture rainwater from the roofs of single-family homes and channel it into dedicated storage bladders. From there, both prototypes direct the collected water to storage for emergencies and to the irrigation of a garden wall. One prototype adds a third use, directing filtered water to an interior bladder that makes visible one’s water use above a basin for washing. In times of drought, the Succulent Walls’ rainwater reserves may serve non-potable uses, reducing reliance on municipal water supplies. In an emergency such as a seismic event, both projects store 50 gallons of water reserve; enough to last a family 14 days in the event of an emergency. 

The two prototypes are designed to function as off-the-shelf and fully-scalable solutions that anyone can install at home. The Succulent Wall prototypes were on display at the 9th Annual LA Design Festival from June 20-23, 2019. 

Students: Christopher Doerr, Daniel Greteman, Ian Rodgers, Caroline Sandusky, Jenny Zhou, Nichole Tortorici, Talia Landes, Xiangkun Hu, Xihan Lyu, Xinwen Zhang, Yiran Chen

Photo credit: Buddy Bleckley