Is salt the new concrete? Dutch architect envisages building cities from salt

Designed by 26-year-old Dutch architect Eric Geboers, The Salt Project is a biomimetic design which envisions using salt water to create sustainable buildings in Qatar, providing an efficient solution to tackle the ongoing desertification.

The goal of Geboer’s project is to create a self-supporting community of towns in Lusail, north of Doha, from salt; building ‘salt towns’ which are sustainable and long-lasting. As salt water is an abundant, locally available resource, the buildings, envisaged to be finished in 2035, will be a valuable addition to the existing ecosystem.

The aim is to pump up seawater from the ocean and then utilize the sun’s energy to distill the water, making it suitable for human consumption and for growing crops. This is envisaged to be done via solar-powered “seawater greenhouses” from which the water is used to grow algae, providing a beneficial microclimate for native desert plants to grow.

The salty residue that the plants don’t absorb is then constructed into building material, and coated with a waterproof material to prevent the blocks from dissolving. The thin panels give the panels a translucency and their white colour reflects the sunlight- a beneficial material property for desert environments.

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