SOURCE: Kansas State University

June 11, 2008 12:11 ET

K-State Architecture Students Build Water-Saving 'Cube' for Greensburg

MANHATTAN, KN--(Marketwire - June 11, 2008) - Students at Kansas State University's College of Architecture, Planning and Design have added a fourth demonstration of low-impact rebuilding techniques to Greensburg Cubed, a project designed to show residents of the tornado-ravaged town ways to meet basic needs in a sustainable fashion.

"The 'watering can' is a bathroom that demonstrates low water-usage fixtures and shows ways that water can be conserved, stored and reused," said Larry Bowne, an assistant professor of architecture at K-State who is overseeing the group of 10 student builders.

The 10-foot "watering can" cube joins three other prefabricated modules on a new central site in Greensburg: "the ice cube," designed to provide clean water; "the green haus" for promoting off-the-shelf solutions to reconstruction problems; and "the recycling bin," which supports a program run by high school students.

The latest cube will reuse "gray water" from its sink and low-pressure shower for various gardens planned nearby. It also has a composting toilet and a solar water heater. Another tank will capture rainwater. The cube will be independent of any municipal water or sewer system, Bowne said.

Students delivered the first set of cubes to Greensburg in time for the first anniversary of the disaster, May 4.

The addition of the "watering can" also marks the establishment of a unified site design for all the cubes, Bowne said. "When we delivered the first three, they were siteless."

The cubes have been placed near a planned demonstration garden to be built by Greensburg GreenTown. The group promotes environmentally conscious reconstruction. The site is to include wildflowers, four areas of native grasses and a rain garden to capture cloudbursts and control runoff. A community garden will allow residents to plant whatever they like, whether vegetables or ornamentals. More information is available at

"It's a really nice expansion of the original proposal, which was to scatter the cubes around Greensburg," Bowne said. "Now they're very central and visible; ideally, by end of summer, they'll be an educational showpiece."

In addition to the cubes, the K-Staters have supplied the site's master plan, which Greensburg GreenTown will implement over the summer.

K-State students working on the project, all architecture majors, include:

Christopher Curtis, Great Bend; and Amanda Garbach, Overland Park.

From Missouri: Timothy Meyers and Bradley Price, both of Blue Springs; James O'Mara, Florissant; Jared Sang, House Springs; Patrick Carpenter, Kansas City, Mo.; Eric Salmon, Kimberling City; Jonathan Hill, Lee's Summit; and Winifred Wright, St. Joseph.

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