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The Sludgey-Hydro Hangout

The Sludgey-Hydro Hangout reconnects people to the waste they produce and the infrastructure that processes it, provides sustainable systems of wastewater treatment and food production, and creates distinctive spaces for community engagement. It is a hybridized wastewater treatment facility, hydroponic farm, and social space.

The building is composed of a transparent box with a whimsical assemblage of colored volumes, floor plates, and interconnected walkways suspended in the middle—all hanging from a thick roof diaphragm. Each volume houses a different program; this includes components of the combined wastewater treatment/food production process and social spaces as well. People traverse through the building through stairs and elevators in the translucent exoskeleton, into the thick roof diaphragm, and down into the central assemblage, which mirrors the flow of wastewater through the building.

Hanging the assemblage from the roof inverts the typical spatial paradigm of wastewater treatment plants and food production facilities, and liberates the ground floor for public use. Typically consigned to the dark recesses of architectural and urban spaces, the combined resource recovery and food production process is put on colorful, playful display, and invites visitors to inhabit the different volumes and the space between them in creative ways.