The world’s tallest indoor waterfall is an impressive feat of architecture and engineering.
Designed by Safdie Architects, the waterfall is encased in a five-storey plant-filled greenhouse in Singapore. The greenhouse also contains shops and public spaces, and is connected to the city’s public transport transport systems, including Changi Airport.
At 40 metres high, the Rain Vortex is the world’s biggest indoor waterfall, and can channel over 45,000 litres of water per minute.
The structure has a domed roof with continuous grid shell panes of high-performance glass, supported by 14 tree-like columns and a ring beam. The glass has been designed to optimise growing conditions for the plants, ensuring that they get enough light without being over-exposed to the heat.
During rain storms, water is collected to feed the waterfall, which flows from a central oculus. This water is recycled into the building’s gardens.
Skyscrapers reach new heights
The Liebian Building waterfall. Image credit: Getty Images
The world’s tallest man-made waterfall overall is a façade feature on the 121-metre Liebian Building in Guiyang, China. The waterfall itself is 108 metres tall and offers stunning views from the plaza below.
However, it has caused some controversy due to massive water leaks, its tendency to drench the streets and the fact that it allegedly costs 800 Yuan ($160 AUD) to run per hour. The building’s owners have defended the waterfall, stating that it uses recycled rain water and tap water, and that it does not run constantly.
Australia joins the club
Australia is not known for its man-made waterfalls, but it soon might be, with an 118-metre waterfall planned for a Brisbane residential building.
The world's largest man-made waterfall will soon be in Brisbane. Image credit: Aria Property Group
Approved by Brisbane City Council in 2018, the project is planned to be one of the most sustainable residential buildings in the city.
The waterfall will span the entire height of the building, cascading from a 50-metre rooftop lap pool.
Developer Aria Group’s design manager Simon White says the man-made waterfall will be unlike any other in the world. It actually consists of a series of linked internal and external water walls, running down angled pieces of textured glass to maximise visual effect while minimising water loss.
Compared to the Chinese waterfall, the Brisbane waterfall will use only a fraction of the power. This is because the quantity of water being pumped vertically will be less than 250 litres per cycle, requiring small and low power usage pumps.
The water will be sourced sustainably, first harvested from rainwater and stored in a rooftop water tank.