Chris Woebken
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New Public Hydrants, 2018
In collaboration with Tei Carpenter 

New Public Hydrants engages with the fire hydrant as a small-scale water infrastructure in New York City to inspire surprising new forms of public interactions and alternative imaginations surrounding our emergency infrastructure and the city’s drinking water supply. While New York City is one of only five major cities in the country with a high enough water quality that does not require filtration, this fact is often neglected in favor of purchasing filtered water in plastic bottles.

Inspired by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s “Water on the Go” program—where a fire hydrant is hooked up to create a collective drinking fountain—our projec augments this idea with a series of local design probes into the fire hydrant. These “hydrant hacks” propose a gateway to reimagine our everyday experience with water infrastructure in the city and bring a renewed awareness about the city’s water quality.

The installation includes a series of three 1:1 interventions into the fire hydrant: 

Hydration Space is an immersive microclimate and sprinkler in which visitors can relax and refresh.

Hydrant on Tap is a bottle fill statio that monitors refills and prints out a “footprint” receipt to connect the implications of drinking local water to the global implications of drinking from plastic water bottles.

Hydrants for All is a water fountain for humans, pets, and other species.

Commissioned by Jane Withers for the A/D/O Water Futures Research Program.
Project Team: Tei Carpenter, Arianna Deane, Ashely Kuo, and Chris Woebken
Thanks to: A Good Plumber, Inc.