Poking around Metropolis Magazine’s website, reading about past winners of their Next Generation® Design Competition is not only interesting, it’s downright inspirational. Perhaps one of their stories will motivate you to enter the contest yourself. Better hurry, though. Entries are due January 29, 2010.
The 2008 victor, for example, San Francisco architect and teacher, Eric Olsen, based his prize-winning concept–a means of carrying and purifying water at the same time–on the saguaro cactus he observed as a boy growing up in the Nevada desert. Taking his cue from the cacti’s “pleats,” which is where they store water, he devised a lightweight, portable water tote that can be worn almost like a shawl by individuals, say, working in fields, while solar heat and ultraviolet radiation purify the water.
Called the Solar Water Disinfecting Tarpaulin, it’s quite an incredible invention and a potentially important one, too, considering that the lack of access to clean water is a major health problem for more than a billion people on our planet.
As one of the contest judges, architect Lance Hosey of William McDonough + Partners, said about Olsen’s project, “What’s brilliant…is that instead of making a better bucket, he reduced the challenge to its essence: how to get safe water.”
What do the winners get? A prize of $10,000, which they can put toward the development of their idea. What a great way to reward (and fund) people to stretch their minds, use their imaginations, and create innovative solutions for the real environmental problems we’re facing around the world. Good idea, no? Next year at this time you could be one of them.