Researchers from the University of Patras and the University of West Attica, Greece have won a £10,000 research prize to investigate how rainwater can be used to help cool facades of buildings in super-hot cities. The winning project is a suspended modular lightweight facade system for evaporative cooling with harvested rainwater. A light-weight structure which can be retrofitted to existing building facades will now be developed with façade consultants. Rainwater will be collected in a roof-tank and used within the system which will spray some of it onto the building, while retaining as much as possible. The lead researcher of the winning team is Professor Katherine Liapi from the Department of Architecture, University of Patras in Greece. The other members of the team are: Professor Ioannis Sibetheros from the University of West Attica and Ph.D. candidate Kyra Papanikolaou, University of Patras.

Researchers say the new structure, when developed, ‘will combine architecture, physics and technology’, serving as a prototype which will be able to include planting to further help in cooling strategies.

The judges praised the proposal for a variety of reasons.

“What I liked most about the winning entry is that it uses a clever blend of environmental and product design, and at its heart it promotes sustainability in dense urban environments” Patrick Speck, Leader, LIXIL Global Design, EMENA

“We decided as a jury that this project was a worthy winner because it exploits the scarce resource of water in a creative way and promotes sustainability via a visually impressive facade” Paul Finch, Programme Director, World Architecture Festival.



WAFVirtual took place from 30 November – 4 December 2020 and was free for all architects and design professionals. Sessions are still available for registrants to watch on demand.

More than 6500 people from the architectural and design community registered for a week of live content, special prizes, talks, panel discussions and networking opportunities with peers and our WAF partners. Speakers included Jeanne Gang, Ben van Berkel, Sir David Adjaye and Sir Peter Cook.

Thematic talks discussed ‘Living with Pandemics’, while other streams covered business, books, emerging architects, product development and technical innovation.

Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang, Sir David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates, Ben Van Berkel of UNStudio and Sir Peter Cook were all speakers at WAFVirtual.

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