Watertanks Chicago




Although the water tanks, which were originally part of the city’s fire-suppressant scheme, have been superfluous for a number of years, they are still an important contributor to the characteristic city skyline.

They remind us, like memorials, of a time when solidarity still mattered to society.

The loss of their necessity has enabled their symbolism to become apparent.

Consequently, the technically superfluous objects contradict their implied redundancy.

They defy their disappearance!

They wish to continue to serve society: reassure, entreat, protect, gather .....

                ..... they wish to communicate.


Design solution:

to creatively reuse the water tanks as a communication medium.

A electronic display will be applied like a belt around the water tanks, upon which circulating messages will be legible throughout the day and night.

In between messages, the contact telephone number will appear on the screen.

A text message (SMS) sent to this number will be immediately be shown circulating on the display around the water tank.

In place where the tanks have already been demounted, four video screens will be installed on the residual steel construction. These displays can be activated by e-mail or MMS to display multimedia messages.


Technical/financing solution.

It will be possible to: send a simple one time message, send a  message on repeat to a single water tank, send a message to multiple tanks, or a combination. Instructions for services should be available on request (e.g. text INFO to the displayed number to receive instructions).

www.watertankschicago.org will be an interactive website with information about the project, where it will be possible to follow  he displays on the watertanks, send a message, see a display history etc.....

The project will be self financing by means of a fee for each SMS, MMS or e-mail sent.

The fee for each message should be minimal, and differential (e.g. an SMS sent to a water tank will cost less than an MMS), so that no one will be excluded from enjoying participating in this cultural communication experience.


link til video